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Step-by-Step Guide to US Business Visa

USA business Visa (B1 Visa) is for business purpose. People who want to visit USA for certain kinds of "business" related travel can apply for Business visa.

The general definition of "business" under immigration law is limited to :

  • The term "business" is limited to the negotiation of business contracts.
  • Consultation with business associates, litigation.
  • Participation in scientific, educational, professional or business meetings, conventions, conferences or seminars and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature.
Note: Citizens of certain countries may not require Business Visa, if the trip is less than 90 days. This is known as the visa waiver program.

Qualifying for Business B1 visa?

Business visa applicant must demonstrate that :

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business;
  • That they plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
  • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States;
  • Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and
  • That they have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.

What you ought to know about B-1 visa:

  • Business visa (B-1) is meant for business purpose only. You can not involved in study or work on b1 visa.
  • Stay on B1 is given at the port of entry in USA. Length of stay can be extended , you must apply a visa extension application. extension is subject to approval .
  • You may not be liable to pay any taxes on your business allowances if any.
  • You may drive, rent an apartment and open a bank account on business visa. (Rules may vary state to state).

All business visa applicants require to be interviewed by a US Consulate, before being granted the business visa. All applicant must apply for B1 visa and setup a personal interview for B1 visa.

Following is the business visa application and business visa stamping process for applying for a USA business visa from India.

Step 1.
Step 2.
Step 3.
Visa Fee
Step 4.
Step 5.

Step 1. Get a digital photograph of each applicant

A digital photograph is required for while applying for a US business visa. The photograph must meet certain criteria. A good photographer or studio can get this picture if you mention photograph needed for US business visa purpose.

The digital photograph must meet the following requirements:

  • The digital photograph must be a square.
  • Minimum dimensions must be 600 pixels by 600 pixels.
  • Maximum dimensions must be 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels.
  • Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel).
  • Image must be in the JPEG format (.jpg or .jpeg file extension).
  • File size of the image must be less than or equal to 240 kilobytes.

See the complete photograph requirements for US business visa.

Step 2. Complete business visa application form DS160

Business visa application (form DS160) must be completed online, over the internet. You can complete the application here.

After successfully completing the application, you will receive a confirmation with a 10-digit barcode. Take a printout of this page. This will be needed for setting up your visa interview appointment.

See details on how to fill US business visa application form DS160.

Step 3. Pay the business visa application fee

In India, the fee can be paid only at an authorized HDFC bank branch. Pay the US Visa Fee and VFS service charges at any of the designated HDFC bank branches in India. You will need to submit a clear photocopy of the first page (bio-page) of your current passport to the bank when making your payment. The bank will issue you multiple copies of a visa fee receipt with a 10-digit barcode number. You will need the HDFC fee receipt barcode number to schedule your interview appointment. Please note, you are required to wait 24 hours from the date of purchase of your visa fee receipt before you can use it to schedule your interview appointment.

Read the complete visa fee details.

Step 4. Take appointment for visa interview

Use VFS website to set up an appointment with the US embassy or consulate where you will be applying for your business visa. You can also walk in to a VFS service center to set up your appointment.

See complete details of taking an appointment for business visa interview.

Step 5. Go for visa interview at designated US consulate

On the day and time of your appointment for interview, go to the consulate where your interview is scheduled. Carry all mandatory and supporting documents and originals.

Carry the following to your interview:

  • Your passport (and your old passports if any)
  • Your photograph
  • The DS160 barcode page (you will not need the full application)
  • The HDFC visa application fee receipts (applicable for application in US consulate in India)
  • VFS appointment letter.
  • Petition-based visa applicants (H, L, F, J, M, R visas) should also bring petition-related documents.
  • Supporting documents, based on what kind of visa you are applying for.

See complete details of the business visa interview process.

Note: Following information is for Mumbai consulate applicants only

Only applicants who are scheduled for an interview appointment at the US Consulate in Mumbai are required to submit their application packet to VFS US Visa Application Centre in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, or Pune at least 3 working days in advance of their interview date. You can view the documents required for submission under 'Non-immigrant Visas' for your specific purpose of travel. Submit your application packet well in advance of your scheduled interview appointment date. If you scheduled an interview appointment at a consular post other than Mumbai, you do not need to send any documents.

Application packet to be submitted to VFS (for Mumbai consulate applicants only):

  • Copy of the first and last page of your current valid passport. If you have any observations on your passport, please submit a copy of the observation page also. You are recommended to have passport valid for travel for at least six months beyond your date of entry into the US.
  • One photograph as per specification
  • Printout of DS160 confirmation barcode
  • Original, valid HDFC Bank visa fee receipt. (Embassy copy)
  • Original interview appointment letter.

Applicants applying for business visa, working for a shipping company or airline, need to submit a company letter in original.

Applicants applying for the visa in order to travel with their employer as a domestic worker must submit a copy of the contract between them and the employer, as well as a copt of the employer's visa and passport.

Applicants joining their husband or parent on board a ship need a letter from the shipping company and the principal's visa copy.

Visa renewal applicants must submit a copy of the previous expired US visa stamped on their passport.

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