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B-1 in Lieu of H-1B Status

B-1 in Lieu of H-1B Status

Although the general rule with B-1 business visitor status is that no work, skilled or unskilled, may be performed while in the United States, there is a limited exception that allows work to be performed in the US.  

The ‘B-1 in lieu of H” status may be granted by a U.S. consular officer receiving a B-1 visa application and supporting documentation which shows:

  • The applicant will work in the U.S. for a very limited time—generally 6 months—and then return to work with a foreign employer;
  • The applicant would qualify for H-1B status because the work to be performed in the US requires someone with at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field and the applicant has at least that relevant Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent;
  • No salary of other remuneration other than reimbursement for incidental expenses may be received from a U.S. source entity;
  • Compensation for work performed in the U.S. will be provided by an employer located abroad with payroll distribution abroad; and,
  • All other requirements for a B visa are satisfied.

Someone who qualifies for the Visa Waiver program may also qualify for the B-1 in lieu of H status.  However, making the application and providing the supporting documentation to the inspecting officer is more burdensome and risky as the applicant could be turned away.   We will help you to evaluate which application process is best suited for your situation.

Our firm has assisted many business travelers in successful B-1 in lieu of H visa applications as well as admissions under the Visa Waiver program.  We do the following to increase the chances of success:

  • Research whether the relevant consulate is amenable to such applications and if they are, what special requirements they impose for qualifying applications
  • In addition to the standard preparation for the B visa and interview, we prepare employer letters detailing the qualifying B-1 in lieu of H activities, qualifications of the applicant, and source of remuneration and treatment of incidental expenses
  • Confirm that the visa is properly annotated and if it is not, counsel on how to explain this upon applying for admission
  • For visa waiver entrants, prepare detailed letter and supporting documents to present at inspection
  • Counsel on potential change in plans for longer term U.S. employment and the impact on future visa eligibility 

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