Business Visa Attorney Referral Service

The United States is a vast marketplace, providing numerous opportunities for foreign businesspersons and entrepreneurs. While US citizenship and residency are not required for starting a business in the US, foreign businesspersons will still need to obtain the appropriate business visa in order to enter the US.

What is a Business Visa?

A ‘Business Visa’ refers, collectively, to different types of visas available to foreigners with plans to do business in the US. Each type of visa has certain requirements for eligibility, depending on the business activity intended to be performed in the US. A business visa may be non-immigrant or immigrant status, each having different sub-types for specific purposes and limited durations.

B-1 Business Visa

The non-immigrant B-1 Business Visa is commonly used for foreigners entering the US as a business visitor, for purposes of:

  • Obtaining funds
  • Securing office space
  • Consulting with associates
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Taking orders for goods manufactured and located outside the US
  • Attending business meetings necessary for setting up a new business in the US
  • Exploring business options in the US

The B-1 visa is generally valid for 6 months with possible extensions.

E-2 Treaty Investor

The E-2 visa is suitable for businesspersons investing substantial funds in a new or existing business in the US. The E-2 visa is generally valid for an initial period of 2 years and may be extended for another 2 years. Applicants of E-2 must come from a country, which has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US, or a country designated as eligible for E-2 non-immigrant visa by US Congress.

Other non-immigrant Business Visas include the L-1 Intra Company Transferee (for executives, managers, or workers with specialized knowledge), F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training visa for holders of F-1 student visas intending to start a business closely related to their course or study) and the Q-1A Extraordinary Ability and Achievement.

What are the rules for obtaining a Business Visa?

Determine the right visa for your needs: Planning ahead for your visa application is essential in obtaining the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) approval. Seeking legal advice from an immigration lawyer is helpful.

Each visa type requires proof of certain qualifications, may be used for limited purposes or activities, and for a limited duration in the US. Due to the number of visa options available for businesspersons and entrepreneurs, determining the visa pathway appropriate to your situation can be a challenge.

Complete and submit application forms: Each type of visa has its own numbered application form that you must fill out completely and accurately. False information that you supply can lead to not only a denial of your application but also a disqualification from future applications for a certain period.

Interview and providing proof of certain conditions: Visa applicants ordinarily undergo an interview at the US embassy or consular office where their applications are filed. You can expect the consular officer to ask questions deemed important for determining your visa eligibility. You may be asked to show evidence of sufficient funds to meet the costs of your stay in the US, close ties to your residence abroad and other ties to prove an intention to return abroad at the end of your US visit. The officer at the consular office or embassy where the interview is conducted has the authority to decide your application.

How can an Immigration attorney help?

An immigration attorney has the knowledge and experience in visa applications and immigration laws regulating their issuance. An attorney can help you to identify the appropriate Business Visa for your needs, guide you in filling out required application forms, and provide legal tips to ensure the best possible outcome in your application.

In San Fernando Valley, California, finding an immigration attorney is fast and convenient through the lawyer referral service. The SFVBA online attorney referral system intends to connect residents and qualified lawyers in various areas of practice including immigration law.

For a referral to a properly vetted attorney, contact the Attorney Referral Service of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association 818-340-4529.