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Can I enter the U.S. on business without a visa?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2021 | Immigration Law

Many people apply for visas to come to the U.S. to take a job. However, employment-based visa programs typically don’t apply if you just need to come here for a conference for to meet with a client.

There are visas that can be used for a short, work-related visit. However, you may not even need to secure a visa to come here, depending on your country of origin.

What do you need to know about Class B visas?

A B-1 visa is reserved for people traveling to the U.S. for specific purposes, such as attending a professional conference or negotiating a contract. Individuals from 39 countries may travel to the U.S. without first obtaining this visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Canadian and Bermudan citizens generally don’t need to secure a visa to temporarily travel to the U.S. on business. People from countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Italy, Chile, Australia and more than 30 other countries may participate in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). This may allow them to travel to the U.S. visa-free unless they have:

  • Less than 6 months left on their e-passport
  • Recently visited a blacklisted country such as Iran, Syria or North Korea or maintain dual citizenship with one of these countries

Anyone meeting the above criteria may qualify to take part in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows them to temporarily come here on business without a visa.

Determining which visa, if any, you need

Determining whether you need a visa for a business visit to the U.S. and — if so — which one, can be challenging. You don’t want to agree to participate in a conference or schedule a meeting without knowing what you need to enter the country. This is why you must take time to learn about the process.