American cities like New York City, San Francisco and Chicago are among the top destinations for business travelers. But who needs to make a visitor visa and what are the individual application steps and requirements? We inform about the so-called business visa and assist you with the B-1 application process if desired.

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What is the B-1 visa?

The B-1 visa is a common nonimmigrant visa for the U.S. that is issued for authorized and limited professional activities to the temporary stay in the United States. The official name of the visa category is B-1 Temporary Business Visitor.

Business travelers who wish to enter the United States for more than 90 days require a B-1 visa. The same applies to persons who do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, for example, due to their citizenship.

Also, individuals entering the U.S. on a private yacht, airplane, or military aircraft, who are not eligible for visa-free entry for this reason, require a B-1 visa.

With a B-1 visa you may execute certain business activities, which are not notclassified as "work". These include, for example

  • the establishment of customer and business contacts
  • Internal company meetings at the US site
  • external business meetings
  • participation in meetings and conferences as a visitor or exhibitor
  • Contract negotiations and the conclusion of business contracts

Attention:B-1 visa holders are not allowed to work productively under any circumstances. Here would have to be alternatively the application for aWork visa for the USAbe examined.

In individual cases, it can be examined whether alternatively theVisa free entry with ESTAis usable for tourism or limited business purposes. The so-called Visa Waiver Program allows certain nationals to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa in advance.

Subcategories of the B-1 visa

As a rule, those who hold a B visa are not allowed to engage in productive work or learning activities. However, under strictly defined conditions, a B visa may be issued exceptionally for persons engaged in productive employment or further education.

The following special cases are not independent visa categories. In the online visa applicationDS-160the special cases are considered and applied for as a regular B-1 visa.

The indication of which B-1 subcategory is involved is merely taken by U.S. consular officers as a notation in the comment field of the visa (Annotation) before.

B-1 After Sales Visa

Companies that sell machinery or production equipment to the U.S. can, under certain conditions, keep their assembler inside to fulfill service orders, i.e. after-sales servicestravel to the USA. On-site assembly work, installations, maintenance work and training, for example, may be carried out by US personnel.

In certain cases, it may also be possible to apply for a temporary project visa for professionalscan be considered.

Under certain conditions can be used for the B-1 category can be used for short in-house trainings and further education.

Requirements for the B-1 visa

For the B-1 Business Visitor Visa, the following requirements apply:
  • Intentions to return, i.e. ties to the home country, must be proven.
  • Applicants must return to their original job after the stay.
  • Applicants must intend to reside in the U.S. on a temporary basis only.
  • No work may be performed.
  • No fees may be obtained from a U.S. company or the U.S. location.
  • Employment in the home country must continue throughout the stay in the United States.
  • Permanent residence outside the U.S. must be maintained.
  • Sufficient funds must be demonstrated to finance the planned stay in the USA.
  • No work may be performed.
Personal advice on US visas Our experts will be happy to advise you on your request

US residency with B-1

With a B-1 visa, one may remain in the U.S. for up to 180 days per entry. Business travelers staying in the United States for no more than 90 days may alternatively be able to participate in the Visa Waiver Program (Visa Waiver Program) and therefore do not need to apply for a visa. Our visa specialists check with all customers before processing the visa application whether entry via ESTA is possible or whether a B-1 visa is required. The borders between ESTA or B-1 visaare in fact fluid.


B-1 Visa application

Application procedure

The first step in applying for a B-1 visa for the U.S. is to fill out theDS-160 Forms. Here, detailed information about the applicant and the planned stay must be provided. The provision of a passport photo is also required.
Did you already know? The professional processing and return of your DS-160 is part of our service.

After submitting your DS-160 form, the status of your visa application can be accessed online.

B-1 Visa Interview at US Consulate

In the second step, applicants must usually appear in person at one of the responsible U.S. consulates during an interview. In Germany, these are the consulates in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Munich.

Our visa consultants will prepare you perfectly for this important appointment and will provide you with the necessary documents, which you will have to present at the interview appointment. At the end of your visit to the consulate, you will usually be informed immediately whether your visa application has been approved.

B1- Application period

Based on our many years of experience in processing visa applications, we recommend that you allow at least four to six weeks for the processing of your B-1 visa application. Especially the appointment situation at the U.S. consulates varies greatly and is, for example, sometimes dependent on the time of year.

Visa costs and other consular fees

The application fees for US work visas vary widely. The more application steps required and the more US agencies involved, the more expensive the visa application becomes.

A list of the different visa fees and other possible costs can be found under Visa Application.

Go to the cost overview

How long is the B-1 visa valid?

As a rule, B-1 visas are issued for 10 years and allow a maximum residence status in the United States of up to 180 days per entry (several times in succession or at a stretch). Thus, if travelers are in the U.S. more frequently for business reasons, there is no need to apply for a new visa for re-entry.

The visa validity of 10 years does not mean that you are allowed to stay in the USA for 10 years. This is because the visa validity period is not the same as the allowed duration of stay in the USA, i.e. you must distinguish the validity of the US visa and the duration of stay or residence status.

Note: The length of stay allowed is not determined until the actual border crossing by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers.

The visa validity period, in turn, simply means the period during which applicants can "apply" for entry at the border. The period of validity of the visa is determined by the U.S. consulate where you submitted the application and can be seen on the expiration date on the visa.

Bild von einem US Officer mit Gesichtsmaske

Is entry to the USA guaranteed with the B-1 visa?

A visa in the passport does not guarantee entry into the USA. This decision is basically up to the Border officials, who will check your business visa upon entry.

Bidl von einem Videocall mit mehreren Teilnehmenden
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We advise you on the choice of the appropriate visa category and take over the complete processing for you or your company.

  1. First contact: We clarify which visa or which visa types are applicable in your case.
  2. Worldwide support: We will assist you with your request, no matter where you are located.
  3. Assignment: We send your HR department and the respective employees all the necessary documents and checklists.
  4. Visa processing: We take care of checking, correcting and compiling the application documents.
  5. Visa Interview Preparation: We will disburse the visa application fee for you and arrange the visa interview appointment. In addition, each applicant will be prepared by telephone for the formalities and procedures at the US Consulate.
  6. Visa issuance: We check your visa for accuracy and prepare your employees for entry into the USA by telephone.
The most frequently asked questions about the B-1 visa

No. The B-1 visa is a visitor visa, with which you are not allowed to work in the U.S. under any circumstances. For this you need a work visa or immigrant visa.

There is no simplified process for extending a B-1 visa. When the visa expires, it must be applied for in a completely new application process. The exact expiration date is noted on your visa.

Family members of B-1 visa holders who wish to travel to the United States require their own visa. If your family members are not participating in the planned business activities, they may be eligible for a B-2 tourist visa.

There are many reasons why a visa application can be refused. Sometimes even minor errors in the application can lead to a rejection. Avoid this risk and contact us before you apply for your U.S. visa.

When a B visa is issued, a combined B-1 / B-2 visa is usually issued, which means that you can also travel to the United States as a tourist. We have compiled further information on this topic on our overview page for U.S. visitor visas.

The fees for applying for a visa vary considerably depending on the category and may regularly increase or decrease, also as a result of exchange rate fluctuations. Therefore, every applicant should inform himself about the current fees before applying.

An application for a B-1 / B-2 visa always consists of two steps:

  1. Filling out the online application (DS-160) and
  2. the subsequent payment of the visa fee including making an appointment at the U.S. consulate.

The B visa application can be submitted online at any time using the DS-160 form. However, a visa application is only processed at the U.S. consulate after the personal visa interview. You can view the respective appointment availability of the individual consulates online after paying the visa fee. Due to the current situation, capacities are probably still very limited.

You can find more detailed information on visa application on the website of the visa service provider or on the websites of the U.S. consulates worldwide.

Tip: Check whether visa-free entry with ESTA is an alternative, as the application for ESTA approval is possible without restrictions.

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 will be issued a derived J-2 visa for the same period as the principal applicant and may travel to the United States on that visa.

B status distinguishes between business travel (B-1) and tourist stay (B-2). Business travel is for the purpose of furthering trade or professional interests abroad, but excludes employment or payment in the United States. It is important to emphasize that the B-1 visa is not a work visa. Typical reasons for entry under B-1 status include meetings, conferences, trade show visits, after-sales service in the form of assembly work, installations, etc., or company formation, contract negotiations, customer support, etc.
In individual cases, it may be difficult for travelers to determine whether entry is still within the scope of the Visa Waiver Program can take place or whether a B-1 visa or even a work visa must already be applied for. Please note that such an assessment must be discussed individually based on entry frequency, nationality, age, company affiliation, purpose of entry, etc. Of course, we will be happy to advise you on which visa is appropriate and, if desired, take over the complete processing!

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Persons who wish to make a short trip to the USA for tourist or private purposes can apply for a B-2 visa. This applies primarily to the classic tourist vacation, visits to relatives or medical stays. Under B-2 status you are not allowed to work, do an internship or study. Each visa category allows only a certain catalog of activities.
Incidentally, when issuing the B visa, often no subdivision into B-1 and B-2 visa is made. Therefore, many visas contain the remark "B-1/B-2", which allows tourist and business entry at the same time.

Applications for a B-1 or B-2 visa are usually filed at a U.S. consulate in the country where you currently reside. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to apply in the country where one has the "strongest ties", be it the country of birth or other.
If your center of residence is in Germany, you can apply at the U.S. Consulate in Berlin, Frankfurt/Main, or Munich, regardless of the state in which you live. In Austria, the Consulate General in Vienna is responsible for B-1/B-2 applications, in Switzerland the US Consulate in Bern. You can find more information about the application process here.

The review of the application by the U.S. consulate
Please prepare your application carefully, as applications are quite strictly reviewed. As a matter of principle, at the interview appointment applicants mustDS-160The applicant must carry the confirmation page and the "Appointment Confirmation" with him/her and provide evidence of his/her firm professional and private ties to the home country as well as his/her intention to return to the home country. In addition, evidence of the specific purpose of the stay (e.g. tourist travel plans, business trip, etc.) should be enclosed.
If the consular officer has reason to believe that, for example, you have an immigration intention or you would like to take up (illegal) work in the USA, your application will certainly not be granted. Especially in the case of foreign citizens who have not lived in German-speaking countries for a long time or very young applicants, an application is examined very critically. Incidentally, a rejection does not have to be justified in detail. Once this has happened, a new visa can usually only be successfully applied for after several months or even years. In addition, a rejection of an application for a non-immigrant visa can Visa-free entry to the USA (ESTA)complicate or make it impossible.

After the visa interview
Please note that your passport will be retained at the U.S. Consulate on the day of the interview and will be delivered by registered mail to a German address after a processing time of approximately one to two weeks. A personal pickup of the visa or an issuance on the same day are not possible!

Extensions of residency status are required upon entry with a B-1 or B-2 visa by another maximum 180 days possible (i.e. to a maximum of 365 days). The application is filed locally in the U.S. at the responsible service center of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS). The application must be submitted in good time before the expiry of the current B status, recommended by the US authorities at the latest 45 days before the expiry of the status.
In addition to Form I-539 and a processing fee, you must include a letter of justification with the application and other supporting documents related to your extension. Unfortunately, extension requests under B-1/B-2 status are very often denied and only granted in urgent cases (e.g., for medical reasons).
Some travelers to the USA try to extend their stay by leaving and re-entering the country. If the maximum period of stay of 180 days has already been exhausted, the exit and re-entry can become a problematic undertaking. This is because the U.S. border officials also decide whether and for how long a re-entry is approved. Under certain circumstances, this can result in the B visa holder being denied re-entry. Consequently, the frequency and duration of entry should not be overstressed.
We will be happy to advise you on any questions you may have and, of course, take care of the entire application process for you or your company. Let us know how we can help you.


As a rule, applicants find out on the day of their interview whether the visa will be granted or not.
In certain cases, the visa applicant receives a letter of refusal from the consulate after a certain processing time. Incidentally, no reasons need to be given for a refusal. The reasons for this can be manifold and range - depending on the visa category - from the assumption of an immigration intention, to the presumption of illegal employment, to insufficient application documentation.
Once this has happened, a new visa can usually only be (successfully) applied for after several months or even years. Theoretically, there is no waiting period for the applicant until the next submission. However, experience shows that without a blatant improvement in the requirements of the respective visa category (e.g. proof of the intention to return to the home country, financial means, proof of specialized professional knowledge, etc.), a new application does not appear to make much sense.

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