How to get a B1 visa (USA)

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Judit Llordés
@juditllordes
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Types of visas for the USA: ESTA, "non-immigrant" and "immigrant" visas

Every Spanish citizen wishing to enter the United States must obtain a visa and the latter are divided into two main categories: those dedicated to those who go to the United States for a temporary stay (i visas called "non-immigrants") and those dedicated instead to those who intend move permanently in the United States ("immigrant" visas). Within these main categories, there are many types of visas, depending on the purpose of the trip (tourism, business, medical study, etc.). For Spanish citizens who are going on vacation to the United States and do not intend to travel for more than 90 days, no visa is required and can be used Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In this case you will only be asked to register online at Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA) on this site and you will be allowed to enter the USA for up to 90 consecutive days (the ESTA is valid for 3 years). However, if you have to go there to participate in fairs or for other business-related purposes you will necessarily have to apply for a visa and one of the most common is the B1 visa.



Visa B1 "non-immigrant": when is it needed?

The B1 visa is a "non-immigrant" category visa which allows you to enter the United States for "light business" purposes including, for example:


  • Participation in fairs, trade shows, business conventions and conferences;
  • Negotiation and stipulation of professional and commercial contracts;
  • Search for new business partners and new commercial opportunities;
  • Participation in meetings with employees, associates, lawyers, accountants and other consultants in connection with an existing business in the United States;
  • Participation in a short-term professional training program;
  • Installation and assembly of components (mechanical, furniture, etc.).

It is crucial to understand that the B1 visa does not allow you to be hired in the United States, nor to receive salaries from American employers. Any compensation received by the visa holder for activities carried out in the USA must be paid by the employer of the country of origin.


What and how to do to obtain the B1 visa (USA): it is better to contact a legal office

In order to obtain the B1 visa it is necessary to demonstrate that:

  • the stay in the United States has a legitimate business purpose
  • that you have sufficient funds to cover travel expenses
  • that there are such links with the country of origin that it is assumed that at the end of the stay you will return home

To this end, the useful documentation to be presented to the Consulate at the time of the interview may consist of letters of invitation or professional appointment, certificate of family status, bank account statements, cadastral surveys or rental contracts relating to the residential properties, Spanish payslips, last tax return, etc., or all those documents necessary to prove that the aforementioned requirements are met. Furthermore, a cover letter written by an American immigration attorney it is highly recommended, especially in a period like the current one in which the granting of visas for the United States is subject to more thorough and detailed checks than in the recent past. In this regard, I recommend that you contact a specialized legal office such as Bardazzi Law. It is a legal office which is based in New York and specializes, among other things, on immigration procedures and on obtaining different types of visas (visas B1-B2, E1, E2, L1, J1, H1B, O1, O2 etc. ).


How long does the B1 visa last

The B1 visa has a total duration of 10 years, but the actual period of stay is established at each single entry into the United States and can vary from 15 days to 6 months, at the end of which you must return to your country.


Family members of the holder of the B-1 visa cannot enter the USA with the same visa as the holder, but can accompany it with an independent visa (for example the B2) or with the ESTA.

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