Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for people who want to enter the U.S. for a temporary business purpose, tourism or a combination of both. With respect to entering for a business purpose, foreign nationals may enter the U.S. as B-1 Business Visitors for legitimate business purposes provided:
- They are employees of a foreign enterprise.
- They continue to be paid by the foreign enterprise while in the U.S.
- They intend to return to their country after their temporary visit in the U.S.
- They present proof of foreign citizenship.
Some of the common permissible B-1 business activities include:
- Consulting/meeting with business associates.
- Attending a scientific, educational, professional or business convention or conference.
- Sales – Sales representatives, agents and buyers taking orders, negotiating contracts, or purchasing goods or services for a foreign enterprise, but not delivering goods or providing services.
- After-sales service – Installers, repair and maintenance personnel, and supervisors possessing specialized knowledge essential to the seller's contractual obligation, performing services or training workers to perform services pursuant to a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale of commercial or industrial equipment, or machinery manufactured outside the U.S.
- Research and design – Technical scientific and statistical researchers conducting independent research or research for an enterprise located abroad.
- Marketing – Market researchers and analysts conducting independent research or analysis, or research or analysis for a foreign enterprise.
In some instances, the B-1 visa may be used to perform work or training activities that otherwise would require formal work permits. The permissible work must, under most circumstances, qualify for H-1B Specialty Occupation visa (any bachelor degree program, e.g., engineering, computer science, marketing, etc.), or H-3 Training visa (training will take place in the U.S. because the company does not have training available abroad). The determining factor is that the foreign national must be employed by a foreign-based entity and maintain residence in their home country.