Companies that sell machinery or production equipment to the U.S. can, under certain conditions, assign their mechanics and technicians to fulfill service orders (after-sales services) with a B-1 visa. We explain the conditions under which your employees can provide after-sales services in the USA and the special features of the B-1 after-sales visa. We will be happy to assist you with the application for a B visa for Commercial Workers / Industrial Workers.

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What is the B-1 After Sales Visa?

The B-1 visa after sales is not an independent visa category, but a subcategory of the B-1 business visitor visas.
The B-1 visa offers business travelers the opportunity to travel to the US for limited business activities for up to 180 days. Since the B-1 visa is not a work visa, B-1 applicants are not allowed to take up employment in the USA. The exception to the rule, however, is the B-1 After-Sales Visa.

For so-called Commercial Workers or Industrial Workers, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has created a number of conditions that enable highly qualified craftsmen to work in the U.S. on an assembly assignment. Specialized assemblers and service technicians thus have the opportunity to work temporarily in the USA within the framework of machine and/or plant deliveries for the provision of services.

To benefit from this exemption, the applicant must, for example, perform assembly, repair, and maintenance work at the U.S. site and at customer sites. Accordingly, the B-1 After-Sales Visa is intended for individuals traveling to the U.S. to assemble, repair and/or maintain industrial machinery or equipment purchased from an American company abroad.

Furthermore, with the B-1 After-Sales Visa, it is possible to conduct training courses on the proper operation of the machines sold.

Requirements for the B-1 After Sales Visa

  • In order to apply for an after-sales visa, there must be a current sales contract between the US company and the company abroad that explicitly provides for after-sales service - for example, the assembly, installation and commissioning of the equipment sold.
  • The application must also show that the applicant is very familiar with the specifics of the equipment being sold and is qualified to perform these services. Proof of the employee's specialization is immensely important.
  • As with the B-1 Business Visitor visa, no payment may be made from the U.S. and the employment contract in the home country must still be maintained. Finally, with the B-1 After Sales, the assignment in the U.S. is temporary in nature.

Special cases: ESTA, B-1 After Sales or Work Visa?

In order to carry out assembly, repair and/or maintenance work at the customer's site in the USA, your employees first need a B-1 visa for Commercial or Industrial Workers.

It is up to you to decide whether your mechanics are to work on-site at the customer's location in the USA within the scope of after sales services visa-free with ESTA, with a B-1 After Sales Visa or with a work visa. The ability to take action requires, among other things, a detailed examination of the contract with the US customer.
If on-site assembly work in the U.S. is an important component for your company, you should think about a longer-term strategy that ensures your employees are permanently deployed in the United States.

If your technician has a nationality that allows travel under the Visa Waiver Programthen the commissioning, installation or maintenance of the machine, plant or equipment may also be carried out without prior application for a B-1 visa. However, the after-sales service must then not exceed a duration of 90 days. If your employees wish to perform after-sales service under the Visa Waiver Program, we strongly advise them to prepare the contract and a cover letter for the border.

Practical tip: Even if this possibility exists, we usually recommend our customers to apply for a B-1 after-sales visa for the employees concerned to be on the safe side, as this often avoids more intensive inquiries at the border. Please note that the decision on the issuance of the B-1 After Sales Visa is the sole responsibility of the US authorities.

A work visa is not required for temporary after-sales service.

Personal advice on US visas Our experts will be happy to advise you on your request
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Our services

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.
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