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B (Visitor)

US Business Visa Category B-1/B-2 (Visitor’s Visa)

Suitable for those planning to visit the US for business or tourism purposes

If you’re looking to stay in the United States for a limited time, this visa category is likely to suit if you’re visiting under the bracket of tourism or business. This category may also be applicable if you’re NOT eligible as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

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What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

Applying to the majority of nationals/citizens of cooperating countries, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows visits to the US for business or tourism for a maximum of 90 days – without the individual needing to attain a visa.

In order for the VWP to be suitable, you must meet the specific requirements of the program.

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Which specific countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program?

All current cooperating countries in the VWP are:

Andorra

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Brunei

Chile

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

Luxembourg

Malta

France

Germany

Greece

Italy

Japan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Portugal

San Marino

Monaco

Netherlands

New Zealand

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Norway

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Korea

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Taiwan

United Kingdom

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How do I know if I’m eligible to enter the US as part of the VWP?

If you’re seeking to visit the US for tourism or business for a period of 90 days or less, you might be able to enter under the Visa Waiver Program.

Your eligibility status can be confirmed or denied at the US Embassy London website. You must complete and submit an application for a small charge – you can do this at http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

When completing your VWP form, Davies Legal doesn’t provide assistance. As the form is relatively straightforward, you shouldn’t require a lawyer for completion unless you need more information about security or criminal-based questions on the form.

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Is there a specific impact of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 on the VWP?

As part of this act, travelers who have visited/are nationals of certain countries either on or after March 1st, 2011, will NOT be eligible to travel under the VWP.

The countries involved are:

Iran

Iraq

Libya

Somalia

Sudan

Syria

Yemen

However, there are some exceptions to this act if visitation was for diplomatic reasons.

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What requirements do I need to meet to quality for a B-1/B-2 visa?

  • Seeking to visit the US strictly for tourism or business purposes
  • Staying for a maximum of 6 months
  • Must have substantial association & ties to the country you’re applying from
  • Must not have future immigrant intent (planning to remain in the US longer than the time period permitted by your visa)
  • Need to display validity across multiple factors (not having medical, criminal or overstay problems – if this is the case, you could be eligible for a Waiver or Inadmissibility)

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Am I able to work and/or study during my visit to the US?

No – you are not permitted to accept employment or money paid for a service from a US-based source. You are also not permitted to undertake work even if unpaid.

Certain forms of study are accepted, but it must not be full-time. If you’re planning to study during your stay, it’s highly recommended you consult a lawyer with regard to whether a Student Visa would be more appropriate.

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Am I permitted to bring my family during my stay? And are they able to work and/or study?

Your family are eligible to enter the US during the same time as you, provided they have a legitimate visa or ESTA. They must abide by the terms of the specific visa they use to visit.

If they enter on a B-1/B-2 visa or under the VWP, they aren’t permitted to proceed with any form of work (paid or unpaid), and must follow the same study terms as outlined above.

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What exactly can I do when entering on a B-1/B-2 visa?

Examples of what you’re permitted to do on this visa include:
  • Carrying out specific business-related activities as long as they’re not considered employment or associated with immigration purposes. However, this doesn’t mean you’re able to undertake unpaid work as mentioned above.
  • Receiving medical treatment as long as you can meet all relevant costs, as healthcare in the US is not free.
  • Refusing any monetary gain or salary from a US-based source other than an expense allowances/any allowances as a result of your stay under specific circumstances.
  • Enrolling in a short study course as long as it doesn’t involve gaining qualifications i.e. college credit.

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How long is a B-1/B-2 visa valid for?

This is strongly dependent on whether you require entry under the VWP (or any other waiver), and the country from which you’re applying from.

If, for example, you’re a British citizen and submit a straightforward application, this visa is typically valid for up to 10 years. However, with a waiver applied, your visa may be valid anywhere between 1 – 5 years – and this depends on whether you’ve been previously granted a waiver.

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Am I able to enter the US for 10 years if my visa is valid for 10 years?

No – the period of time of which you can stay for a single visit considerably differs to the length of time your visa is valid for.

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Where does filing take place?

If you’ve either been declined an ESTA or are simply deemed ineligible to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to obtain a US visa in your passport before being permitted to travel.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Taxes, Company Formation, and Residency in the U.S.

We’ve compiled over 150 of the most frequent questions and answers (FAQs) on tax, company formation, and residency in the U.S. in our knowledge base. You can visit our knowledge base here.

If you find that your personal questions have not been answered, book a telephone consultation here.

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Get Advice on Taxation, Company Formation, and Residency in the U.S.

If you already have a project that you want to implement in the U.S., you will most likely have already dealt with the intense framework conditions in the U.S. Online, you can find a wealth of information on almost every subject. Though all this information is available, it is common for one to reach a point of confusion. There are too many aspects to consider simultaneously and the starting position can be complex.

To solve this mental knot and pave your way to success, jump on a 1-hour telephone counseling session based on taxation, incorporation, and residency in the U.S. In this conversation, we will discuss specific technical issues such as tax, U.S. corporations or LLCs. Or we can discuss any strategic options you are considering.

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