Setting up a business in the US as an alien is quite easy as long as you have the right documents to facilitate the process. Once the business is up and running, you may want to visit the US and check on its progress, and this is where a business visa comes into play.
The American government offers entrepreneurs several visa types, each with different requirements to access it. Let’s review the available business visa options and what it takes to get one.
Short-Term Business Visa – B-1
If you are to participate in commercial or professional business activities in the US, a B-1 visa is what you need. Business activities bringing you to the US under this visa can include the following:
- Engaging in short-term training
- Business consultations with associates
- Estate settlement
- Contracts negotiations
- Travelling for conventions or conferences in the business, education, science, and professional niches
- Transiting via the US.
To apply for this document, you must prove you’re coming to the US for a legit business and will be around for a specific time. You must also show you have ties to your native country that you won’t abandon and have enough money to sustain your stay.
Treaty Trader Visa – E-1
A non-immigrant from a treaty country intending to conduct business activities on their behalf can apply for a treaty trader visa. To be eligible for this document, you must be a citizen of a treaty nation and intend to visit the US to carry on substantial trade under the E-1 qualification.
Employees of a treaty trader must qualify as employees under US law and be of the same nationality as their employer. They must also carry on business duties of executive nature that make them invaluable regarding the business trip.
Treaty Investor Visa – E-2
This visa is reserved for investors intending to inject substantial business capital into the US. The visa is also extended to particular employees of such an entity, especially those in executive positions. Treaty investors can also be accompanied by spouses and children not exceeding 21 years.
Nonimmigrants lawfully in the US can apply for this visa by filling out the form I-129. To qualify for this application, you must prove you’re in the process of investing or have invested a significant amount in an active and real enterprise in the US through strategic partnership. Your sole purpose should be to direct or develop the organization in question.
Intercompany Transfer Visa – L-1
If you’re a US affiliate company employee in another country, an intercompany transfer visa allows you to be transferred into the US office. However, you must hold an executive or managerial position to qualify for this pass. This document also allows companies without a US office to send a manager or executive employee to set up one.
A qualifying relationship with a subsidiary, branch, affiliate, or parent company is the most critical qualifier. On top of this, you must be an employer in America and at least one other country directly or through qualifying entrepreneurship.
NAFTA Temporary Work Visa – TN
The US, Canada, and Mexico have a special economic and trade engagement thanks to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It’s a temporary pass enabling Mexicans and Canadians to lodge in the country to conduct business professionally.
Teachers, scientists, lawyers, pharmacists, and engineers are among the classified professionals eligible for this pass. Canadians do not necessarily need to apply for a visa when entering the US but should establish their purpose of entry under the TN visa.
Nevertheless, applicants from both nationalities must possess the following qualities to be admitted under this visa.
- Have the required practice qualifications and documents
- Prove you have an existing employment contract with a US employer
- Be working under a NAFTA-approved position
- The US company requires a NAFTA professional
Aside from mentioned options, you can also travel to the US for business under the specialized labor(H-1B) and extraordinary ability (O-1) visas.
To Wrap Up
America offers plenty of entry opportunities to foreign entrepreneurs and investors as long their main purpose is to conduct trade in and with the US.