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United States

Visa Requirements for Business Travelers in the Americas

Short-term Business Visit 

Business Visitor Visa Requirements Business travelers of the following FTAA countries require a B-1 visitors visa (B1) for admission to the United States for the purpose of a short-term (90 days or less) business trip:
  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Bahamas 
  • Barbados 
  • Belize 
  • Bolivia 
  • Brazil 
  • Chile 
  • Colombia 
  • Costa Rica 
  • Dominica 
  • Dominican Republic 
  • Ecuador 
  • El Salvador 
  • Grenada 
  • Guatemala 
  • Guyana 
  • Haiti 
  • Honduras 
  • Jamaica 
  • Mexico 
  • Nicaragua 
  • Panama 
  • Paraguay 
  • Peru  
  • St. Kitts & Nevis 
  • St. Lucia 
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadine 
  • Suriname 
  • Trinidad and Tobago 
  • Venezuela
Business travelers of the following FTAA countries usually do not require a B-1 visitors visa for admission to the United States for the purpose of a short-term (90 days or less) business trip:
  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Uruguay

Documentation Required for Application for a Business Visitor Visa  A business visitor seeking entry to the United States is required to establish to the satisfaction of the Consular Official in the country where the visa is requested and of the Immigration Official at the port of entry that he/she is legally a bonafide visitor to the United States and intends to return to their residence abroad at the end of their authorized stay. This may be done through the submission of evidence demonstrating bonafides and ties to the home country of the visa applicant. A letter from the sending business firm explaining the purpose and conditions of the visit and/or letters from the corresponding stateside firms are not required, but are helpful in many cases. 
  • A passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay. However, Canadians are not required to present passports upon entry except after a visit from outside the Western Hemisphere. This exemption does not preclude Canadian nationals from applying for and receiving visitor or other non-immigrant visas, and a Canadian passport presented at port of entry may have an entry stamp placed in it if requested. In addition, most FTAA Governments have bilateral agreements with the United States, which in practice extend the passport validity six months beyond the actual date of expiration. (Note: Entry must be made before the passport expires. The following seven FTAA countries do not have bilateral agreements for passport extension: Belize, Bolivia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua.).
  • An application form OF-156, completed and signed. Blank forms are available without charge at all U.S. embassies and visa-processing consular offices, as well as at many travel agencies, or can be downloaded, in English, from Some U.S. Embassies’ web pages have visa application forms in the appropriate foreign languages. 
  • One photograph 1 and ½ inches square (37x37 mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
Method of 
Business travelers must receive a visitor visa from a U.S. Embassy or visa-processing consular office prior to seeking entry to the United States. Applicants are not always required to apply in person; many diplomatic posts have programs through local travel agencies or a “drop box,” that provide expedited processing without a personal appearance before a Consular Official. However, in many cases a personal interview is required. 

Processing time Varies from post to post. It is important to allow sufficient time for processing the visa, and final travel plans should not be made until a visa has been issued. 

Multiple Entry 
Most U.S. visas are valid for multiple entry to the United States during the period of validity of the visa.

Validity/Extension The validity of the visa is determined by the U.S. Consular Official at the time of application and issuance. The legal length of stay in the United States is determined by U.S. immigration officials at the point of entry. Generally, but not always, a six-month maximum is allowed.

Cost of Visa Application US$45 processing fee. Additional issuance fees may be required on the basis of reciprocity, according to visa classification.

Accompanying Dependants Dependents accompanying for pleasure travel need to qualify on their own merits for a B-2 tourist visa. Generally speaking, they will be processed for visas and/or entry in a manner commensurate with the treatment accorded the principal applicant. 

General Definition of the Short-term Business Visitor The B-1 visa category is available for foreign nationals who come to the United States on a temporary basis for business visitor travel. This could include persons briefly visiting the United States to make contacts, take sales orders, purchase supplies/services, participate in professional conferences, or negotiate contracts. The U.S. law which governs U.S. immigration, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), in Section 101(a) (15) defines categories of non-immigrants. INA Article 101(a)(15) defines a business visitor as "an alien [i.e., a foreign national] (other than one coming for the purpose of study or of performing skilled or unskilled labor or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media coming to engage in such vocation) having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business...” This is the legal definition of a B-1 traveler, and such travelers may not partake in gainful employment or receive remuneration from a U.S. source during their stay. Procedures for applying for other sorts of business visas and the entry requirements involved in other types of business travel can be more complex. This could include, for example, temporary entry for the purpose of operating a business in the United States or to work in a U.S.-based office of a foreign business.

Requirements -
Under VWPP
Citizens of Argentina can enter the country as temporary business visitors under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). The U.S. Attorney General recently determined that nationals of Uruguay are also eligible to participate in the VWPP.
  • The VWPP enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa.
  • The VWPP is authorized through April 30, 2000. The Visa Waiver Pilot Program is administered by the Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of State.
  • No extensions of stay will be granted.

U.S. Department of State:
Visitors are advised to use this information as general guidance and should check with the appropriate U.S. Consulate (or Section at U.S. Embassy) for any specific requirements applicable to their case before traveling.


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