US B1 Visa is one of the most desired Visa types when it comes to travelling to United States. B1 is a temporary visa issued to those seeking entry into US for business purposes. The B1 visa is issued with a validity of 10 years and the person can stay maximum of 6 months in a single visit. Since this visa type is also among the most exploited one, there are strict guidelines for the ‘Acceptable’ use of B1 visa.
The acceptable use for this visa type as shown on Wikipedia are:
- Hold business meetings
- Perform certain business functions as a member of the board of directors of a U.S. corporation
- Purchase supplies or materials
- Interview and hire staff
- Negotiate contracts, sign contracts, or take orders for products manufactured outside the United States
- Attend a convention, meeting, trade show, or business event for scientific, educational, professional, or business purposes
- Settle an estate
- Perform independent research
And More >
How to Apply for B1 visa?
To apply for a B1 visa you need to keep these 3 links handy:
- https://ceac.state.gov/GenNIV/Default.aspx – For Application
- http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-paymentinfo.asp – For Payment Information
- https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/ – For Profile creation
You need to fill in your application from Link (1), this is called D-160 form. Once you apply for non-immigrant (B1) visa using D-160 form, make sure you create your profile from the Link (3) and select the date/time for interview.
You can refer Link (2) for payment related information.
TIP 1: Make sure you fill in genuine details in D-160 form, DON’T try to showcase something which you are not.
During the application process you’ll have to select two dates:
On this day, you need to get your passport and application confirmation printout and reach at biometrics center mentioned in the application confirmation. The actual process takes around 5 mins, but you may have to wait in a long queue.
During this process they will scan your fingerprints and take a photo of you, which then later be used for your verification on actual interview date.
TIP 2: Don’t take any gadgets, laptops or devices to the biometric center, they will ask you to keep it outside and there may be a chance you don’t find any safe place to keep your belongings.
Once you are done with your biometrics, start preparing yourself for the interview, I personally suggest following plan:
- Learn about Do’s/Dont’s for the B1 visa from from US Government website.
- Make sure you remember the exact address where you will be staying in US.
- Make sure you remember dates for your previous foreign trips.
- Start reading about previous interview experiences from Quora.
- Stand in front of mirror and practice your interview with all the possible questions they may ask.
- Dress properly on interview date, if you are an Analyst then dress like one, if you are a company CEO, dress like one.
Eg: If you are a techie, and you dress like a Business person, it may raise questions in interviewer’s mind.
7. Keep all your documents handy in a folder, in case the interviewer asks for a specific document, you shouldn’t be flipping pages for it.
TIP 3: Make sure you NEVER EVER say you are going to ‘work’ there, B1 visa is strictly for trips and NOT for work.
TIP 4: Having an Invite letter from the person/company who is calling you definitely helps.
TIP 5: Make sure you are clear about who will be paying for your trip and stay in US ( Either you yourself will be paying or the company calling you will be). If you yourself are paying for your trip, then make sure you have sufficient documents to support the fact that you are financially stable ( Bank statements, Assets, 3 months salary slips).
My interview experience at US Embassy, New Delhi, India:
TIP 6: Don’t keep any metal objects or electronic devices with you like Mobiles, Tablets, Laptops, coins (keep only the currency notes with you ), digital watch (not even the analog one ).
1) I reached around half an hour ahead of my time slot.
2) I kept all the files, documents handy with me.
3) Make sure you are already well hydrated, as you may have to stand in long queue before you are allowed to enter.
4) Once I reached the entry gate after standing in long queue, I was asked for my passport and confirmation letter for interview.
5) They’ll scan your passport and let you in.
6) You again stand in a line which leads to scanning machine, here you will be scanned for any potential metal, digital objects.
7) I was asked to remove my belt and let it pass through scanner, later I was allowed to take it back.
8) Upon entry there is a counter where my finger prints were scanned again before letting me in.
9) I then proceeded towards another line where I waited before I was allowed to enter another building where actual interviews were happening.
10) I was asked to stand in front of a counter and wait for my turn.
11) Once interviewer was done with the previous candidate ( he was rejected too 🙁 ), she called me.
12) I greeted her and handed over my passport, then she right away asked “Why are you going to US”?.
13) I mentioned my purpose of visit (Business Purpose).
14) She asked where you will stay in US? I told her exact address and state.
15) She asked what’s the purpose of your trip (same question, different words, just to make sure you don’t divert from your previous answer).
16) Any previous foreign trips? I mentioned all my previous trips.
17) When did you go to UK? I answered.
18) When did you return from there? I answered.
19) What is your monthly salary? I answered.
20) “OK, your visa has been approved, please collect your passport after few days” 🙂
21) I thanked her and left the counter.
22) I then collected my passport from the address mentioned in application after 4 days.
TIP 7: Stay calm! as you may hear some rejections happening while you wait for your turn in queue.
TIP 8: She didn’t ask for any document from me apart from passport, but I still recommend keeping all the documents ready with you.
TIP 9: Interviewers are ‘Human Lie Detectors’, so don’t misrepresent anything. Always speak the ‘Truth’.
TIP 10: Don’t mention extra details in your answers, just crisp point to point answer.
TIP 11: Read as many interview experiences possible before your interview day and be ready with answers for all of them.