¿Habla español? | Our firm is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Bengali, Creole, Punjabi, Gujarat, and Afrikaans!

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Understanding How The US Business Visas

Understanding How The US Business Visas

Understanding How The US Business Visas

The United States immigration law permits immigrants to work in the United States temporarily or permanently if they possess the necessary skills and talents to do so. The US actively encourages investment to improve its economy, providing advantages to business people ready to invest.

This is why business people are so attracted to moving to the US. Setting up a business provides a great chance to settle in the United States and financial opportunities if you invest wisely. But you will need to get a US business visa. Many types of US business visas are available, so knowing which one is right for you is important.

Different visas may be better suited to your specific situation and objectives. If you are starting and owning a US company, you don’t need a visa. You can manage a business entity from outside the US but may not be allowed to do business from within the US without a US business visa.

As a director or shareholder of a US corporation, you don’t need a visa. However, as an officer, you generally won’t be able to perform your duties in the US unless you have a US business visa. If you work for a corporation or LLC, you need a visa. If you desire to do business actively in the US, you should read through the guide provided in this post.

Overview of the US business visa

If you are traveling to the United States for business, you must ensure you have the right US business visa. Unless you are eligible for a visa waiver program (VWP) or a Canadian or Bermudan citizen, you will need a visa to enter the US for business.

Various types of US business visas are available to foreign nationals who want to enter the United States to conduct one or more business engagements. While each visa has similar requirements, there are a few differences. These visas are designed to allow business persons to enter the United States legally.

US immigration law permits foreign nationals with high-skilled and talented individuals to enter the US temporarily or permanently to provide various services, such as investors who can enter into investment agreements in various sectors. The purpose of US business visas is to bring foreign nationals to the United States to contribute to the economy by offering their investment or skills.

If you want to take advantage of investment opportunities, participate in business meetings, or stay in the United States longer, an application for a US business visa is a smart way to begin. As long as the requirements are met and you have the means to contribute to the US economy, this visa is suitable for those not eligible for the visa waiver program.

Doing business without a US business visa

You can travel to the United States visa-free if you are a citizen of 38 countries, including the UK. You can enter the US visa-free for 90 days for business purposes, tourism, or transit to other countries. However, visa-free travel is only available for occasional short trips to the United States.

You are not eligible for visa-free travel if you plan to work, study, or stay in the US for over 90 days. If you want to stay longer, you must get a visa for US temporary travel for 6 months or more. To apply for visa-free travel, you must first apply for approval using the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA).

Generally, you will be authorized to travel under the visa waiver program (VWP) if you are a national of one of the VWP partner countries listed and have a valid electronic passport containing an electronic chip. You will not be eligible for ESTA visa-free travel under the following conditions:

  • If you have been arrested for some specific crimes. The arrest does not have to result in a conviction.
  • If you have a criminal record.
  • If you have been refused entry to or been expelled from the US.
  • If you have overstayed in the US.
  • If you have a serious communicable disease.

You must complete an online form on ESTA’s website to apply for visa-free travel. The US Customs and Border Patrol recommends completing this form at least 72 hours before your departure date. If you are unsuccessful in your visa-free travel application, you must file a US business visa application at the nearest US embassy or consulate.

In these cases, you will likely have to reschedule your travel plans.

Types of US business visas

The United States is one of the world’s fastest-growing and most dynamic economies. It is considered a high-income country where the people have high purchasing power. You can start a new business from the ground up, enter a partnership, purchase a franchise, or buy and expand an existing business.

Regardless of your choice, many industries in the United States offer a variety of opportunities. Additionally, the United States government has developed various visas that investors can apply for.

Whether you are a business owner looking to launch, acquire, invest in, or grow your company in the United States, there is a pathway for you! Four pathways allow qualified business immigrants to enter the US on temporary or permanent business visas.

1. Temporary US business visas.

E-1 and E-2 visas.

If you are looking to establish a business that trades with your home country, you may want to consider the E-1 treaty trader visa. To qualify for this visa, you must be a country resident with an appropriate trade agreement with the US. It is a temporary US business visa that can be extended as long as your business continues to operate.

Alternatively, if you want to establish a business as an investor in the US, you can apply for the E-2 treaty investor visa. Like the E-1 visa, the investor visa is also a temporary US business visa. You must be a resident of one of the treaty countries to qualify.

However, not every country is eligible. Business owners and investors from some eligible countries may be able to obtain any of these US business visas if they meet a number of criteria. Employees, the principal visa holder’s spouse, and children under 21 years old may also be eligible.

The B-1 visa.

The B-1 visa is the most popular visa for non-US nationals visiting the US on business. It is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it is for someone coming to do business in the US temporarily.B-1 visas allow attendees to attend conferences or seminars or do other legitimate business or professional activities.

They can’t do gainful employment or productive activities like running a permanent business, but they can do limited additional activities. For instance, they can participate in a voluntary service program in the US that benefits a local community.

If your proposed business activity falls outside of what is allowed under the B-1 US business visa, you will need another US business visa. If you are planning business and tourist trips simultaneously, you need a B-1/B-2 combination visa.

2. Permanent US business visas.

EB-5 visas.

The EB-5 Visa was first issued in 1990. Its purpose was to boost business and bring foreign capital into the United States. The EB-5 is a green card-level US business visa issued by the USCIS to eligible business owners. An EB-5 business owner can also get green cards for their spouse and unmarried children under 21.

Qualifying business owners must meet specific criteria to qualify for the EB-5 US business visa. Depending on your EB-5 visa type, you may not have to run your business. However, if you are willing to invest a substantial amount of money in a US company, you may be eligible for the EB-5 US business visa.

This visa requires a minimum investment of between $500,000 and $1 million. It also requires the establishment of at least 10 employment opportunities for US residents within two years. Upon completing the EB-5 program, you will be eligible for permanent residency in the United States.

3. US business visas to grow your business.

L-1 visas.

If you are already working for a foreign company and you want to relocate to the United States, you may want to consider the L-1 intercompany transfer visa. This visa permits you to move from a foreign-related company to a United States company, but you must have worked as an employee of the foreign company for at least one year in the past three years.

The processing timeline for US business visas

The processing time depends on several factors. First, it depends on the complexity of your case and the number of visa applications your service center handles. Second, it depends on whether you are eligible for the visa. Thirdly, it depends on how comprehensive your documentation is.

On average, the processing time for US business visas ranges between 20.5 and 27 months, depending on the type of visa you are applying for. To save time, you can use the premium processing service to expedite the process. It is available for an extra fee. You can learn more about the premium processing service by consulting your immigration lawyer.

Get help!

With so much at stake when it comes to doing business in the US, it is essential to take the time to understand your situation and make sure your application is fully prepared and complete. Immigration officers have much discretion regarding US business visas, so your application has to be extremely thorough to prove eligibility.

At Gehi and Associates, we specialize in US business visa applications. We work with businesses, company owners, and employees to help them secure the necessary immigration permission to enter the US and legally carry out their activities.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your US business visa application!

Share it!

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Search

Search

Free Consultation

Scroll to Top

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Signup to our email newsletter for Legal Updates, Tips & Webinars!

Skip to content