3 Key Things You Should Know to Acquire a Business Visa to the United States

3 Key Things You Should Know to Acquire a Business Visa to the United States

Every year, millions of people from around the world visit the USA for tourism and short-term business. It is very easy to make a mistake during the visa application process.

If you plan to visit the USA on business, here are three key things you should know to acquire a business visa:

 

1.     Know where you’re going – in detail.

Business Visitor visas require definite activities. You must be going to the United States with pre-arranged plans in mind, and have your goals already laid out at the time you visit the U.S. Consulate for your interview.

Your activities must also be specific. You must be able to share with the Consulate who you plan to meet with, why you plan to meet with them, and what schedule you have laid out to accomplish the purpose of your visit.

If you do not have plans set in stone, or if you come across uncertain of your plans, there is a good chance that your Business Visitor visa will be denied.

An example: If you’re attending a conference, provide a schedule or itinerary of that conference and have proof that you are registered. If you plan to make deals with businesses, make a list of the companies and people that you plan to meet and include their contact information.

To further increase your chances of success, have the people who you plan to meet with write you letters (on letterhead) confirming your appointments.

Providing a paper trail of your discussions that lead up to your visit to the Unites States go a long way with the consular officer who will be analyzing every detail of your application.

 

2.     Get a recommendation letter from your company in support of your trip.

This is not just recommended: this is a must. Your company’s recommendation letter (and it must be on letterhead) should be addressed to the U.S. consulate in your country and offer support for your visit to the USA.

This letter should include:

      Information about the company

      Your employment history and job title

      The reason why the company is sending you

      Travel dates, work schedule and company goals

      A statement that you will be paid by the company for the trip

      Reasons why you intend to return home

 

Small businesses need a lot more information. If you work for a small business, it is best to contact the nearest U.S. Consulate in your country before you apply and ask what information they will need to verify that your small business is legitimate.

 

3.     Remember: a “Business Visa” is NOT a “Work Visa.”

This is perhaps the most common misconception about Business Visitor visas. Business Visitor visas are meant for employees of existing businesses abroad. You cannot work for anybody but your own company on a Business Visitor visa. You also must be supervised by (and receive pay from) the company in your home country.

Do not use the Business Visitor visa to look for work in the USA.

This could be considered visa fraud, and the consequences can be severe. If you think there is a chance that you may receive a job opportunity (for example, from somebody you meet at a networking event), you should share this with the consular officer reviewing your application and ask for his/her guidance on how to approach the situation.

 

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of what’s required to obtain a Temporary Business Visitor visa. Rather, these are frequent questions and common mistakes that applicants make in the process.

For detailed information about the Temporary Business Visitor visa, you can visit the website for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a step-by-step process.

 

Useful Resources:

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united- states/temporary-visitors- business/b-1- temporary-business- visitor

https://www.uscis.gov/eir/visa-guide/b- 1-business- visitor/b-1- visa

3 Key Steps to Acquire a Tourism Visa to the United States

3 Key Steps to Acquire a Tourism Visa to the United States

Each year, millions of people from around the world visit the United States for tourism and short-term business. It is very easy to make a mistake during the visa application process.

If you plan to visit the USA for tourism, here are three important things that you should know:

 

1.     Get access to a computer.

Without internet, the visa process will be a complicated one. For citizens of most* countries (see below), the first step in getting a tourist visa is submitting an online application.

You must also have a contact email address. Only after submitting the online application can you schedule your visa interview at a U.S. Consulate.

 

2.     Organize your finances.

Last month, I worked with a Cambodian woman who wished to visit her family in the United States.

Even despite challenges such as her lack of computer access and language barrier, completing her application was a real struggle, especially when it came to her finances.

This woman worked in subsistence farming in a rural area of the country. Her income fluctuated with the seasons, and she often depended on support from her family in the U.S.

Because of this, financial information was scarce and she was unable to show how much she earned. A lack of verifiable pay is insufficient for a successful visa application.

However, she was able to overcome this dilemma. In order to complete her application (which requires a monthly income), she took her previous years’ income and divided by twelve. By doing so, she was able to complete this application, and satisfy this portion of her visa application.

Many tourists, especially those with family in the United States, do not make very much money. If your income would be considered ‘impoverished’ by U.S. standards, you will need a U.S. based financial sponsor to support you.

Sponsorships require detailed information from the sponsor, and he/she will need to fill out a sponsorship form with physical proof of his/her income and send it to you.

 

3.     Purchase refundable airfare.

Travel plans can be a “Catch-22” – they can create a difficult situation if you do not want to make travel arrangements until your visa is approved, but need to show your travel arrangements in order to obtain your visa.

This is a common question I receive, and unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.

However, the best chance to minimize risk is to purchase refundable tickets around the same time that you schedule your visa interview. While refundable tickets might be more expensive, the credibility that you’ll earn by having proof of your travel plans (especially your return home) is well-worth the price.

 

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of what’s required to obtain a Tourist Visitor visa. Rather, these are frequent questions and common mistakes that applicants make in the process.

For detailed information about the Tourist Visitor visa, you can visit the website for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a step-by- step process.

*Citizens of many countries are exempt from the B-1/B- 2 visa requirement for visits up to 90 days.

You can see if your country might qualify for an exemption by clicking here.

 

Useful Resources:

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visitor.html

https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/VisaFlyer_B1B2%20March%202015.pdf