Immigration laws and documentation can be confusing to both foreign nationals and Arizona residents alike, and one of the most baffling aspects of this legislation is the dizzying array of immigrant and non-immigrant visas available. Those who vacation in the United States or enter the country to visit friends or relatives will generally be required to obtain a B-2 visa before traveling, and foreign nationals who wish to conduct business in America must first obtain a B-1 visa.
While it may be fairly straightforward to identify individuals that are visiting the United States for pleasure, separating those who wish to conduct business from individuals who are seeking work can be a more challenging and nebulous process. Foreign nationals in possession of a B-1 visa are permitted to engage in commerce in the United States provided that they are not compensated by U.S. sources. Acceptable behavior for B-1 visa purposes includes negotiating contracts or trading agreements, attending conventions or trade shows and consulting with executives or other business associates.
Citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program may enter the United States to conduct business or for pleasure without a B visa, but they are only permitted to remain in the country for 90 days. While this program makes life less complicated for vacationers, it can be an issue for business travelers who will be engaged in commercial activities that could last for longer than 90 days. The holders of B-1 visas can remain in the country for six months.
Attorneys familiar with U.S. immigration laws could explain the various visa programs available to those who wish to visit, live, work or conduct business in the United States. Choosing the appropriate visa is important because visitors or immigrants who violate the rules may be deported from the United States and permanently barred from reentering the country even if their mistake was an innocent one.