Business travel to the US
Ask the US EmbassyWednesday, November 11, 2015
Q. I currently have a B-1/B-2 visa that I have used for tourist travel on several occasions. Now I need to travel for a short business trip. Do I need to apply for a different visa? Can you clarify the rules surrounding business travel to the United States?
A: Thank you for your interest in conducting business in the United States! We want to make your business travel and investment in the United States as easy as possible. To answer your question, the vast majority of business travel is possible with your B-1/B-2 visa.
Please consider the response below as the first in a series of articles about business travel. At the end of the article, we provide a link to our official online Visa Wizard to help you find the right visa for your business-related travel.
Most business travel -- almost certainly the brief business trip you have mentioned in your question -- can be easily accomplished with a regular B-1/B-2 visa. One good rule of thumb is to follow the money. If your business activities are being funded from a source of income outside the United States and your visit is temporary, then you may conduct your business on a regular B-1/B-2 visa.
Examples of this include business meetings, purchasing goods or services for import into Jamaica, negotiating contracts, attending conventions or conferences or even settling an estate. Sales and selling, exhibitions, taking orders, and even signing contracts for products you are producing outside the United States are allowed on a B-1/B-2 visa. Attending trade shows is another example of a common and permitted business activity on a B-1/B-2 visa as long as you are not receiving any income at the trade show that comes from a US source.
You may also transit the United States on a B-1/B-2 visa. If you are connecting through the United States in order to conduct business in another country, this is a permitted activity. You may wish to plan on a brief stop of a day or two in the United States to shop or rest or visit family before or after your business in the region.
If you are considering a business venture in the United States or you are an investor considering an investment in the United States, your activities in preparation for such a venture are likely permitted on a B-1/B-2 visa. You are permitted to survey and lease premises for businesses you are opening in the United States as long as you are not planning to remain and manage the businesses on that visa. A helpful flyer about B-1/B-2 business travel is available on the travel.state.gov website:
There are a number of common business-related activities that are not permitted on a B-1/B-2 visa. These include paid performances; arrival in the United States as a crew member on a ship or aircraft; work as a member of the non- US media (press, radio, film, and other information media or journalism); and of course you cannot use your visa to permanently live and stay in the United States to manage your business.
Look out in the next two weeks for more on business travel from Jamaica to the United States. We will discuss treaty investor visas and transferring employees to US-based offices for temporary work. You can find out more by reviewing our Visa Wizard online: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/visa-wizard.html.
You can find more information about how to travel to the US on our website, www.kingston.usembassy.gov, and the website of our authorised service provider at www.usvisa-info.com. Keep on top of Embassy news on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/US-Embassy-Jamaica, and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.