Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
Few examples of activities permitted with a visitor visa:
Business Visitor (B-1) can:
- Engage in commercial transactions, which do not involve gainful employment in the United States (such as a merchant who takes orders for goods manufactured abroad);
- Negotiate contracts;
- Consult with business associates;
- Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or
- Undertake independent research.
More over, under specific conditions and limitations, the business visitor could be:
- B-1 visitor in lieu of qualified H-1 or H-3 employee
- Investor Seeking Investment in United States: Foreigner seeking investment in the United States, including an investment that would qualify him or her for status as an E-2 nonimmigrant investor; EB-5 immigrant may be issued a B visa to examine or monitor potential qualifying investments as long as the applicant otherwise establishes qualification for a B visa, including that they do not intend to enter the United States to pursue adjustment of status. Please note, applicants seeking investment, like all B-1/B-2 travelers, are precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business while in the United States in B status.
- Personal/Domestic Employees (domestic help):
- Personal/Domestic Employees of U.S. Citizens Residing Abroad
- Personal/Domestic Employees of U.S. Citizens on Temporary Assignment in United States
- Personal/Domestic Employees who accompanies or follows to join Foreign Nationals in Nonimmigrant Status
- Personal/Domestic Employees of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)
- a foreign citizen coming to United States to Pursue Employment Incidental To their Professional Business Activities
- Ministers of Religion and Missionaries
- Participants in Voluntary Service Programs which benefits U.S. communities.
- Members of Board of Directors of U.S. Corporation
- Professional athletes, such as golfers and auto racers, who receive no salary or payment other than prize money for his or her participation in a tournament or sporting event.
- Yacht Crewmen
- Coasting Officers
- Commercial or Industrial Workers
- Foreign Airline Employees
- Medical Clerkship or Business or other Professional or Vocational Activities
- Participants in Foreign Assistance Act Program
- Peace Corps Volunteer Trainers
- Internship with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
- Participants in the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) program of internship for training and research who are not employees of foreign governments.
- A foreign Employed by Foreign or U.S. Exhibitors at International Fairs or Expositions
- A foreign to come to the United States to perform services on behalf of a foreign-based employer as a jockey, sulky driver, trainer, or groomer.
- Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Employees
- Medical Doctor whose purpose for coming to the United States is to observe U.S. medical practices and consult with colleagues on latest techniques, provided no remuneration is received from a U.S. source and no patient care is involved. Failure to pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) is irrelevant in such a case.
- Participants in Cultural Programs
- A professional entertainer coming to the United States to participate only in a cultural program sponsored by the sending country.
- Still Photographers