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Business or Pleasure: B-1 and B-2 Visas

Written by Gardale Hatley on Tuesday, 17 September 2013. Posted in Palmore Hatley Blog, Immigration

The second installment of PH Law's Visa Series.

B-1 and B-2 Visas are temporary visitor visas, that like all nonimmigrant visas, manifest an intent to have a temporary stay in the U.S. However, as with other nonimmigrant visas, an applicant can have ”duel intent,” meaning the individual may have a short-term intent to leave but a long-term desire to stay permanently. Therefore even if someone has a desire to be a permanent resident, they can still gain admission via a nonimmigrant visa such as a B-1 or B-2.

The basic requirements of the B’s are:

  1. The person is an “Alien”
    Has a residence in a foreign country that is an actual dwelling place.
    1. Not a student, performer, skilled or unskilled labor, law enforcement, or media representative
    2. The B’s are not a catch-all however.
  2. They have no intention of abandoning that residence.They are visiting temporarily for business or for pleasure.The visit must have specified time duration and the person must have intent to depart at that time.
    1. The person may be asked to show employment contacts, family or social ties to the residence abroad.
    2. This helps show the intent to return home after the visit.
    3. The individual may be required to post a bond at the port of entry in order to visit.
  3. The person must have permission to enter a foreign country (return home) after the end of the stay.
  4. Must have adequate financial support to carry out the purpose of the visit.

B-1 Strictly Business

Typically these individuals will be engaging in some sort of business transaction beyond just making phone calls, instructing employees, etc. But, an individual may not use a B-1 in order to manage a U.S. business full-time. In other words, is the visit a transaction or a series of transactions or is the U.S. the profit center for the foreign business. The predominate place of business and accrual of profits must be in the foreign country.

Expenses, NOT Salary

The B-1 may also be used in lieu of other types of visas in some instances. The key: Is the individual entering and receiving compensation or are they only being reimbursed expenses for the trip? For example, Religious workers may apply for a B-1 so long as their trip does not involve any salary or payment other than expenses. Further, individuals on a voluntary service program for religious purposes may enter under a B-1.

Certain embassy and government employees may apply for a B-1 instead of a J-1 should they not qualify for a J-1. In addition persons seeking H-1 status but not receiving salary or any other payment other than expenses may enter under a B-1. Professional athletes who are not receiving a salary, but instead receive winnings from tournaments or races may enter under a B-1.

Individuals entering to attend a U.S. corporation’s board meeting(s) may also enter.

B-2 We’re Going to Disney Land!

This is a bit more simple, tourists, friends visiting friends and family, individuals coming for health or medical treatment, those coming to a convention, musicians or entertainers who are not being paid for the trip, dependents of U.S. Armed Forces, and people entering to marry a U.S. citizen but still intending to leave are some of the individuals who can enter under a B-2.

In addition, non-spouse partners, regardless of gender, who are entering with someone who has E, F, H, or L status, can enter under a B-2 under their own name. However, don’t mix business with pleasure, the reason for the visit must be to accompany the other individual, not to carry out personal business.

Are you entering for business or pleasure but you want to go home when you’re done. The B-1 and B-2 may work for you.

About the Author

Gardale Hatley

Gardale Hatley

Gardale Hatley was raised in Lampasas, Texas and moved to Montgomery County more than 15 years ago. He focuses his practice primarily in Montgomery and Harris counties.

Palmore Hatley PLLC

Call Nearly Me Technologies(936) 539-0298


[email protected]

[email protected]


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Conroe, Texas 77301

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