B-1 Business Visitors

BLS frequently works with employers seeking to bring in an employee of a foreign affiliate or subsidiary for a short term training or professional business assignment. The foreign national may be eligible for either a “B-1 in lieu of H-1” or “B-1 in lieu of H-3 visa” depending on the nature of the assignment and the proposed length of stay in the U.S. Foreign nationals may apply for a B1 or B1/B2 visa to perform H-1B work in the United States as long as they fulfill the following criteria:

  • Hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree
  • Plan to perform H-1B-caliber work or training
  • Will be paid only by their foreign employer, except reimbursement of incidental travel costs such as housing and per diem. The employee must not receive any salary from a U.S. source.
  • The task can be accomplished in a short period of time.

For the B-1 in lieu of H-3 classification, the following criteria must be met by the foreign national:

  • Proposed training is not available in own country;
  • Will not be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business and in which citizens and resident workers are regularly employed;
  • Will not engage in productive employment unless such employment is incidental and necessary to the training;
  • The training will benefit in pursuing a career outside the United States; and
  • Will continue to receive a salary from the foreign employer and will receive no salary or other remuneration from a U.S. source other than an expense allowance or other reimbursement for expenses (including room and board) incidental to the temporary stay.

These travelers would be admitted as B-1 visitors, and may only stay in the U.S. for the time allotted by the Department of Homeland Security upon entry.

Like any other B-1/B-2 applicant, the applicant must still show strong professional, familial and financial or other ties to the home country that indicate to the satisfaction of the interviewing consular officer that the applicant will depart the U.S. upon the completion of the short-term assignment.

This particular visa category has recently come under much greater scrutiny by the Department of State, which oversees the issuance of visas at US consulates around the world. The U. S. Department of State announced in October 2012 that the guidance for issuing B‐1 lieu of H‐1B/H‐3 visas in 9 FAM 41.31 N11 is under review in an interagency process, but is still in effect until further notice. BLS will provide updates if the Department of State should issue regulations rescinding this particular visa category.

Temporary Work Visas



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