How to Obtain a B1 or B5 Visa

By Sarah Rogers
You will need a current valid passport.
passport image by peter Hires Images from Fotolia.com

Most visitors and all immigrants to the United States are required to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. Two types of visas, B1 and EB5, are for foreigners who wish to do business in the United States. A B1 visa is a visitor visa for business people who wish to attend a convention, negotiations or meetings. An EB5 visa is an immigrant visa for business people willing to invest in the U.S. and meet certain conditions. You should apply for either visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to your current permanent residence.

Apply for a B1 Visa

Go to the website of your nearest U.S. Embassy and find the D-160 Non-Immigrant Visa Application form. Select the B1 visa type, fill in the personal information as prompted and upload an electronic passport size photo of yourself. Print the application form confirmation page when you have finished; this page will include a bar code confirmation number.

Make an interview appointment with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. To do so, you will be required to provide the D-160 confirmation number. Gather the supporting documents needed for the interview: proof of the purpose of your trip, proof of sufficient financial resources and proof of ties to your present country of residence. Obtain a passport size photograph (2 x 2 inches) in color and on a white background.

Go to the appointment with the documents, photograph, your passport and fee payments. Have your fingerprints taken, hand over the documents and payment as requested, and answer the questions posed by the U.S. consular officer.

Learn of the decision at the end of the interview appointment. If your application has been successful you will hand over your passport. The embassy will affix the visa and mail it back to you. Some embassies require that you bring a postage paid envelope with you, while others require that you pay for a courier service. If in doubt, ask.

Apply for an EB5 Visa

A prerequisite to an EB5 visa is an investment of $1 million in a new or existing commercial enterprise in the United States. In some cases, $500,000 may be sufficient if there is very high unemployment in the area or the area is rural. At least 10 new jobs must be created in the area as a result of your investment.

Download and print the I-526 Form from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Fill out the form and gather the required supporting documentation: proof of the U.S. business, business location, your participation and involvement, and creation of at least 10 U.S. jobs. English translations must accompany any foreign language documents. Obtain a check or money order for the filing fee. Send the form as directed in the instructions.

Receive notification of your application. If your application has been approved, gather the documents for the next step: I-526 approval notice, photocopy of birth certificate, photocopy of passport, completed G-325A biographic form, completed I-693 health form and two passport size photos.

Make an interview appointment with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Go to the appointment with the documents, photographs, your passport and money for fee payments. Have your fingerprints taken, hand over the documents and payment as requested, and answer the questions posed by the U.S. consular officer.

Learn of the decision at the end of the interview appointment. If your application has been successful you will hand over your passport. The embassy will affix the visa and mail it back to you. Some embassies require that you bring a postage paid envelope with you, while others require that you pay for a courier service. If in doubt, ask.

About the Author

Sarah Rogers has been a professional writer since 2007. Her writing has appeared on Nile Guide, Spain Expat and Matador, as well as in “InMadrid.” She is also the author of “Living in Sunny Spain Made Easy.” Rogers often writes about living abroad and immigration law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and Spanish from San Francisco State University.