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Step-by-Step Guide to US Business Visa

USA Business Visa (B1 Visa) is a temporary visa granted to citizens of foreign countries who wish to come to the United States for business purposes.

According to the US Department of State, a 'business visa' is limited to visitors who want to :

  • consult with business associates,
  • attend a scientific, educational professional or business convention or conference
  • settle an estate
  • negotiate a contract
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 home at the end of the visit.

What you ought to know about B-1 visa:

  • Business visa (B-1) is meant for business related purpose only. You can not get 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 if, you must apply for a visa extension. Such extensions are 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 applicants must apply for B1 visa and setup a personal interview.

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

Digital images of the applicant are required for some visa categories, while photos are required for other visa categories. The acceptance of your digital image or photo is at the discretion of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply.

The criteria for your photo or digital image are as follows:

  • In color with 24 pixels per bit and taken in the last 6 months.
  • Dimensions to be within a range of minimum 600 pixels and a maximum of 1200 pixels
  • In JPEG format equal to or under 240 KBs.
  • Should be taken before a plain white background, in full-face view
  • Maintain neutral expression and clothing
  • No head covering unless for religious purposes
  • Effective November 1, 2016, eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos
  • If taking it yourself, apart from the above, also ensure the image is square and sized with head between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35mm) or 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
If you decide to scan an existing photograph, in addition to the above requirements, it should also be:
  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • Scanned at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per millimeter)
  • Carry 2 physical copies printed on quality paper for the interview

See the complete photograph requirements for US business visa.

Please Note: Some embassies or consulates no longer require you to upload a digital photograph while filling out the DS-160 form. In such cases, the photograph will taken at the OFC (offsite facilitation center) or ASC (Application Service Center) along with the fingerprint at Visa Application Center.

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 complete details on how to fill business visa application form DS160.

The fee can be paid either electronically as a bank transfer or in cash at designated CitiBank or Axis bank branches throughout the India. In order to ensure the proper amount is paid and activated in a timely manner, first create a profile at US visa Service website and choose the Schedule Appointment option. On the payment confirmation screen you will be presented with payment options and further details of how to initiate payment. The fee is good for a year from the date of payment. You must take an appointment within a year for your visa interview.

Read the complete details about US business visa fee.

After you pay the fees, you will have to schedule 2 appointments as part of the visitor visa process. The two-part appointment process consists of an appointment with one of the five Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to give Biometrics information that includes fingerprinting and photograph , and second an appointment with the Consulate or Embassy for a personal visa interview.

Take online visa appointment at official website for US visa appointment.

See complete details of taking a US Business Visa Interview Appointmen.

After taking appointment with the consulate or embassy for personal interview, schedule the fingerprinting appointment at least a day or two before the interview at the consulate. Earlier, the fingerprints were taken during the personal interview. But under the new rules you are required to give the Biometrics information at the VAC appointment. This measure has been introduced to reduce congestion at the US consular facilities and to speed up the applicant processing. Schedule the visa interview appointment at the Consulate or Embassy prior to the VAC appointment.

See complete details for Business Visa Fingerprinting Process.

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 application form confirmation page stamped at the VAC .
  • Copy of visa application fee receipts.
  • visa interview 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.



Related Links

For those who have currently applied for this visa or are planning to apply for the visa in the future, here is some useful information on the process.