Prewitt Law P.C.: Attorney for Foreign National Entrepreneurs

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September 1, 2017

B-1 Visa and B-2 Visa: Business, Pleasure, or Both

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Are you confused about the purposes of the B-1 Visa and B-2 Visa, and how they pertain to starting a business or traveling in the US? In this blog, Prewitt Law Firm explores whether foreign investors may use a B-1 visa (business visa) or B-2 visa (tourist visa) to start a business in the US.

B-1 Visa and B-2 VisaAre you confused about the purposes of the B-1 Visa and B-2 Visa, and how they pertain to starting a business or traveling in the US? In this blog, Prewitt Law Firm explores whether foreign investors may use a B-1 visa (business visa) or B-2 visa (tourist visa) to start a business in the US.

To obtain a US investor visa, foreign entrepreneurs need to provide a substantial capital investment. Often, prospective investors do not have enough capital to apply for an investor visa but are nevertheless interested in starting a business in the US.

What is a B1/B2 Visa?

Most foreign nationals wishing to enter the US territory must first obtain either a nonimmigrant or an immigrant visa. Both the B1 visa and the B2 visa are categories of nonimmigrant visas.

The B-1 visa allows you to temporarily enter the US for business purposes.

The B-2 visa allows you to temporarily enter the US for tourism or leisure.

You can obtain a visa for dual purposes. The  B1/B2 visa  allows you to enter the US territory for business and/or tourism.

Citizens of some countries are allowed to temporarily enter (for up to 90 days) the US for tourism or business without having to obtain a B-1 or a B-2 visa, under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Visit this link to learn which countries participate in the VWP:

https://www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program-requirements

B-1 Visa

 

What business activity can I pursue with a Business visa (B-1 Visa) or Tourist visa (B-2 Visa)?

You cannot start a business in the US on a B-1 or B-2 visa.

B-2 visas are strictly limited to touristic and leisure activity, and do not allow for any business activity while in the US.

The  B-1 visa may be a useful asset if you are interested in starting a business in the US and you are not a citizen of a VWP country.

The B-1 visa does not allow you to work in the US. However, you can use this visa in the explorative stage of your business venture. Indeed, a B-1 visa allows you to perform all the preliminary acts to opening a business in the US.

 

 

Notably, you may:

  • Consult with business associates
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Reach an agreement about an estate (such as securing your place of business)
  • Participate in short-term training
  • Travel to the US for professional or business convention(s)

B-1 VisaYou can enter the US with a B-1 visa to start preparing for the launch of your business, and come back later with an E-2 visa or an EB-5 investor visa which will allow you to come to the US to grow your business.

Both investor visas (E-2 visa and EB-5 visa) options will be discussed in separate blogs.

For all your questions about the B-1 visa or B-2 visa, please call us at (+1) 646 583 1206 or email us at info@prewittlawfirm.com.

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E-2 Visa: Path to Green Card?

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B-1 Visa/B-2 Visa Transfers - Fact or Fiction?

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