The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers several types of visas for individuals who wish to maintain permanent residence in their home countries but enter the country temporarily to engage in business, temporary work, or education. 

Is the B1 temporary visa a good option for foreign nationals seeking to start a business in the United States? Read on to find out.  

Can I Start a Business on a B1 Visa? – Full Walkthrough  

The B-1 Temporary Business Visitor visa is intended for applicants who need to stay in the United States for a limited timeframe to engage in business activities of a “commercial or professional nature.” 

Considering the name of the visa, many foreign entrepreneurs file their applications and eventually find out that it is not the best option for individuals seeking to start a business.  

The B-1 visa offers the possibility for a temporary stay focused on the following activities described by USCIS: 

  • “Consulting with business associates 
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention, or a conference on specific dates 
  • Settling an estate 
  • Negotiating a contract, and  
  • Participating in short-term training” 

Even though this visa option is useful in specific cases, it does not provide the same flexibility as other temporary visas. Additionally, it is not applicable for individuals seeking to perform labor in the United States or engage in any long-term activity. 

US law does not necessarily preclude foreign nationals and non-residents from opening a new business or purchasing an existing company in any US state. However, there is a significant difference between opening a company and conducting business under B-1 status. 

The best way to find a visa option tailored to your specific case is to rely on the experience of a well-versed business immigration attorney. 

Applying for a B1 Visa – Eligibility Criteria & Authorized Period of Stay 

The USCIS requires applicants seeking eligibility for a B-1 visa to demonstrate that: 

  • The purpose of entry to the United States is based on a legitimate business activity 
  • The period of stay will be limited to a specific short period 
  • The applicant has sufficient resources to cover all the expenses associated with the trip and period of stay in the country 
  • The applicant has a residence established outside the United States 
  • The applicant has no immigrant intent and does not intend to abandon his or her home country  
  • The applicant has binding ties to ensure his or her return once the period of stay is over  

After receiving approval on a B-1 visa, successful applicants can enjoy an initial period of stay varying between one to six months. It is possible to apply for an extension of stay of up to six months.  

Those interested to stay beyond the authorized period without departing from the United States must file Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) and submit the required documents to support the application for extension with USCIS. 

Please note that the maximum amount of time permitted for foreign nationals under B-1 status on any trip is generally one year, with very few exceptions.  

Do You Want to Start a US Business as a Non-Resident? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

If you want to form a foreign-owned business in the United States, waste no time with uncertainty. Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for expert legal guidance.