A business Visa is a non-immigrant visa to the USA. It is called a B1 visa. Those who would like to travel to the U.S. for a short duration for business-related reasons, that do not require actual labor work or payment from a U.S. source, can apply for a business visa.
Citizens of certain countries can travel to the U.S. for a duration up to 90 days under the visa waiver program and therefore do not need to apply for a business visa.
A business visa is appropriate for a variety of business-related activities such as attending a conference, business meetings, and several other purposes, but not for conducting business. Look at the comprehensive list of permissible and prohibited activities on a business visa.
You should apply for a visa as soon as possible, and no later than 60 days before the travel date. If the conference is scientific in nature, or the applicant has a scientific background, the visa application should be made no later than 90 days in advance of the travel. Waiting times vary by the consulates and some consulates may require more time. Additional delays may be caused by security clearances or administrative processing that may be needed after the interview in some cases. You should plan your travel well in advance and you should not purchase air tickets until you have received your visa. No matter how strong your case is, you should not automatically assume that you will get the visa.
The Business Executive Program (BEP) for certain large and established Indian companies that send a lot of employees on business visas has been retired as of April 1, 2015.
The length of your visa stamp allows you to enter the U.S. at any time within that duration. However, the actual duration of your stay during a particular visit is determined by the date stamped in the passport at the port of entry by the immigration officer. Read more details visa stamp vs. authorized duration. Just because you get a ten-year visa, it does not mean you can stay in the U.S. for ten years.
There are no annual quotas for a business visa. In most cases, you get a joint B1/B2 visa.
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There is no dependent visa category for business visa applicants. It is generally not a good idea to take your spouse and/or minor children while traveling to the U.S. on a B-1 visa, as it is not customary for them to accompany you in business meetings and other relevant activities on a business visa.
However, if they would still like to accompany you, they can apply for a tourist (B-2) visa. Read visitor visa section for more information. Each B2 visa applicant must qualify on his/her own.
Some consulates call it urgent appointment or emergency appointment as well.
Some consulates have procedures to schedule an expedited appointment. However, it is discretionary and depends upon several factors such as the urgency of the travel and the U.S. national interests involved.
- Clearly indicate the date of travel on the application and provide contact information such as the local phone number of the applicant.
- Clearly explain why it is important (i.e., explain what is at stake) to expedite the appointment.
The U.S. embassy/consulate will review such requests and grant expedited interview appointments within the constraints of their workload.