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B-1 visas and visiting for business

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Foreign nationals who plan to visit Maryland on business may wonder whether or not a B-1 visa is the appropriate choice for them. A B-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. in order to conduct business. It is important for people who are thinking about getting this type of visa to understand what is considered to be business activities as opposed to employment.

B-1 visas may not be used for impermissible purposes. People who use a B-1 visa for a purpose for which it is not intended may face serious consequences, including deportation and being permanently banned from returning to the U.S. One of the key things is that the B-1 visa may not be used to engage in employment.

Permissible purposes for B-1 visas include negotiating contracts, engaging in commercial transactions, litigating, attending business conferences or conventions and engaging in independent research. People must also meet the eligibility requirements, including maintaining a home abroad, having specific plans for the visit, listing a specific time period, establishing that a return to the foreign country is planned and having significant ties to the foreign country to induce returning to it. If a stay will be shorter than 90 days, the visa waiver program is available for residents of certain countries, which allows stays of short durations without needing a specific visa.

Foreign nationals who plan to come to the U.S. to work should not opt for B-1 visas. Instead, they may want to talk to an immigration law attorney about getting work visas. Legal counsel might be able to advise them about the most appropriate visa for their purposes. The attorney may then help them gather the needed documentation for use in completing and submitting the visa application.

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