When do you need a B1 visa?
If you are travelling to the USA for 90 days or less, and are part of the Visa Waiver Program (or VWP) then you could apply online for a Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (or ESTA). If you are not eligible to apply for an ESTA then you may need to apply for a B1 visa. This is a temporary (non-immigrant) visa that will allow you to travel to the USA for work purposes (on a business trip). You would need a B1 visa if you were travelling to the United States to consult with clients or business associates, or to attend a conference, seminar or convention.
You could also apply for a B1 visa if you will be carrying out business related research, or are going to take part in legal negotiations or proceedings that are work related. A B1 visa is valid for up to 6 months and can be renewed after it has expired. A big difference between an ESTA and a Visitor Visa is that you can apply online for an ESTA and be granted one in seconds, whilst the B1 visa must be obtained through an embassy or consulate.
What you need to know when applying for a B1 visa
The main concern that the U.S. Consulate in the USA has is that you will be returning to your home country, rather than staying to live in the States - so it will be necessary for you to prove that you have ties to the UK. This could be by providing information on a property you own, family and friends that you have within the UK and the job that you have to return to. You would also need to provide evidence that the work is of a legitimate nature. Please be aware that B1 visas are highly discretionary and can be denied if sufficient evidence isn't provided that represents your intent to return home.
If you are applying for a B1 visa ensure you have the documentation required to submit with it.
What is the difference between a B1 and B2 visa?
If you are not eligible to apply for an ESTA then you may need to apply for a B1 visa for a business trip. A B1 visa allows you to enter the USA for up to a period of 6 months, for business purposes with a company in the USA. A B2 visa allows you to enter the USA for an extended period to that of an ESTA of up to 6 months for tourism, pleasure or to visit family and friends. Simply put a B1 visa is for work-related travel and a B2 visa is for a personal trip.
- Negotiate business contracts
- Consult with business associates
- Settle business financial affairs
- Attend conferences, conventions and other business events
The following activities can be carried out with a B1 visa:
Important specifications of a B1 visa
Please note that having a B1 visa does not allow you to do any of the following:
- Become a student (either full or part-time)
- Perform and be paid for it
- Work in the press, or within journalism
- Take up any form of employment
- Enter an aircraft or a ship, as a crew member
- Seek permanent residency in the USA
How do I apply for a B1 Visa?
The order of steps you need to take to apply for a visa may vary depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate so follow the instructions on the official U.S. Embassy or Consulate website. You may be asked to complete the online non-immigrant visa application Form DS-160. During the online application and you can print the application page to bring to an interview (though please research and follow the correct procedure of the U.S. Embassy in the UK). During the online application you will need to upload a photo following the specific photograph requirements.
Interviews are often required for visa applicants if you are aged 14 years and over; these generally aren't required if you are below the age of 13 years, or older than 80 years. An appointment should be scheduled for your interview with the UK's U.S. Embassy or Consulate and the waiting times for the interview can vary depending on your location, the season and the visa category; so make sure you apply for your visa well in advance. The application fee for this is around $160 or £120.
How long does it take to get a visa B1 after interview?
You will be advised at the interview of how long it can take to process your B1 visa. It can vary depending on the country you are having your interview in and, in some circumstances, this could be for a period of up to 6 months or more. This extended period, of between 6 to 8 months, of waiting time is usually if you are advised at the interview that a waiver of ineligibility is required before the visa can be issued. On a positive note though, most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the interview.
What is a B1 visa - domestic employee?
A B1 visa domestic employee is a type of visa for domestic or personal employees. This includes cooks, nannies, butlers, maids, chauffeurs and gardeners who are accompanying, or following to join, an employer in the United States. This has strict requirements and there would be an annotation on the visa indicating the purpose of the visa.
The following requirements must be met:
- The employee has a home in their country that they have no intention of leaving.
- They can demonstrate at least one year's experience as a personal or domestic worker.
- They have been employed for at least one year by the employer as a domestic worker, prior to the employer's admission to the USA.
- They must have an employment contract, signed and dated by the employer and employee; including the following terms - the employee's income must be above minimum wage, and they're allocated free room and board.
To learn about these and further specific requirements visit the offical U.S. Embassy website.
It is important to note that the authorities in the country that you are travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you are unclear at all about certain aspects of the entry requirements to the USA, and you need further advice, then you need to contact the embassy high commission or consulate of that country to find out more.
- Travel insurance homepage
- Travel insurance FAQs
- Our policies:
- Cheap Travel Insurance
- Single Trip Travel Insurance
- Annual Travel Insurance
- Cruise Travel Insurance
- Our cover levels:
- Bronze cover policy
- Silver cover policy
- Gold cover policy
- Additional cover:
- Gadget Travel Insurance
- Sports Travel Insurance
- Ski Insurance
- Water Sports Travel Insurance
- Wedding Travel Insurance
- What Happens If You Miss Your Flight?
- Winter Sports Travel Insurance
- Family travel:
- Children's Travel Insurance
- Family Travel Insurance
- Single Parent Travel Insurance
- Over 65's Travel Insurance
- Medical Insurance Homepage
- Allergies Travel Insurance
- Angina Travel Insurance
- Arthritis Travel Insurance
- Asthma Travel Insurance
- Brain Tumour Travel Insurance
- Breast Cancer Travel Insurance
- Broken Bones Travel Insurance
- Cancer Travel Insurance
- COPD Travel Insurance
- Crohn's Disease Travel Insurance
- Dementia Travel Insurance
- Depression Travel Insurance
- Diabetes Travel Insurance
- Disability Travel Insurance
- DVT Travel Insurance
- Epilepsy Travel Insurance
- Heart Condition Travel Insurance
- High Blood Pressure Travel Insurance
- Gall Stones Travel Insurance
- Lupus Travel Insurance
- MS Travel Insurance
- Prostate Cancer Travel Insurance
- Stroke Travel Insurance
- Children with Medical Conditions Travel Insurance
- Cruise Travel Insurance with Medical Conditions
- Senior Travel Insurance with Medical Conditions
- Travelling With Medication
- Travelling With Diabetes
- Adventure Travel Insurance
- Annual Cruise Travel Insurance
- Couple's Travel Insurance
- Extreme Sports Travel Insurance
- Gap Year Travel Insurance
- Group Travel Insurance
- Hiking Insurance
- Interrail Travel Insurance
- International Travel Insurance
- Long Term Travel Insurance
- Off-piste Ski Insurance
- Over 70's Travel Insurance
- Over 80's Travel Insurance
- Pregnancy Travel Insurance
- Sailing Travel Insurance
- Scuba-diving Travel Insurance
- Senior Travel Insurance
- Student Travel Insurance
- Travel Health Travel Insurance
- Under 16 Travel Insurance
- Under 18 Travel Insurance
- Volunteering Abroad Travel Insurance
- Weekend Travel Insurance
- Working Holiday Insurance
- Holiday Cancellation Insurance
- EHIC Information
- Car Hire Excess Cover
- Compare Travel Insurance
- Worldwide Travel Insurance
- European Travel Insurance
- France Travel insurance
- Halong Bay Vietnam
- Indonesia Travel Insurance
- New Orleans
- New York
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Vietnam Travel Insurance
Holiday Extras Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Holiday Extras Cover Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 828848.
Holiday Extras™ is a Trading Name of Holiday Extras Cover Limited
Holiday Extras Travel Insurance is provided by Taurus Insurance Services, an insurance intermediary licenced and authorised in Gibraltar by the Financial Services Commission under Permission Number 5566 and authorised to passport general insurance intermediary services into the UK and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under registration number 444830.
The insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE. Great Lakes Insurance SE is a German insurance company with its headquarters at Königinstrasse 107, 80802 Munich. UK Branch office: 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London, EC3M 5BN, company number SE000083. Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch, is authorised and regulated by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht. Deemed authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number: 769884. Subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details of the Temporary Permissions Regime, which allows EEA-based firms to operate in the UK for a limited period while seeking full authorisation, are available on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website.