June 22, 2009: Disclosure of Unauthorized Employment Required

Legitimate Use of B-1 Business Visas

I have a small business partnership in Jamaica. I buy merchandise here in the U.S. and ship it to Jamaica. My partner has a better understanding of the customers needs and I would like for her to get a visa to come do the major purchases. How should we go about it? The business is registered in Broward County and her name is on the license.
— Kevin

It appears that your business partner located in Jamaica may be eligible for a B-1 nonimmigrant visitor visa. The B-1 visa is for business visitors (as opposed to a B-2 visitor visa for pleasure). There are some general requirements that must be met before a B-1 business visitor visa will be approved at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica. As is the case with all visitor visas, you must prove nonimmigrant intent to enter the United States. That means you intend to enter for only a temporary period of time for a legitimate business purpose.

You will need to provide documentation evidencing the travel arrangements, your specific and realistic plans once in the United States, proof that the length of time of your proposed trip coincides with your travel plans, and your business, familial, etc. ties to the foreign country that would assure your return. The consular officer will inquire into your legitimate business purpose. It is important to prove that your business partner is doing business in the United States on behalf of a foreign entity An example, among many others, includes being a purchasing agent for a foreign company to procure products in the United States for use outside of the United States.

The consular officer may have questions about the structure of the business and the foreign entity because your question only mentions a company registered and licensed in the United States. Another possibility may be an “L” intracompany transferee nonimmigrant visa. A discussion on that possibility requires more facts regarding the corporate structure, job duties, etc. It may be wise for you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss business visa options.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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