Easing the Business Visa Process for Your International Customers

Understanding the basics of obtaining a visa can aid in the daunting process

General Process for Obtaining a Visa

A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, which allows travel to the port-of-entry and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the U.S. The B-1 "visitor" visa is the nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business. The process is as follows:

  • Complete the application form DS-156
  • Contact a U.S. Embassy in the home country to make an appointment for a required interview

How to Ensure a Visa is Issued

Knowing the specific criteria that the consular officer is looking for during the interview will help ensure visa acceptance. The job of the consular officer is to assume that every applicant is an intending immigrant. The applicant's job is to prove their intent to return home.

First, the applicant needs to show strong ties to their home country. This can include:

  • Proof of job (letter from employer)
  • Evidence of funds to cover travel in the U.S. (salary statements)
  • Proof that applicant is well-established in home country (deed to property)
  • Evidence of strong ties to home country (i.e. to family or educational institution)

Second, the applicant needs to provide information about the proposed trip. This can include:

  • Details about the U.S. company
  • Purpose of the visit
  • Itinerary
  • Length of stay

**A sponsorship letter from the U.S. company, detailing this information, would greatly assist the applicant. **

These lists are not extensive. Any documents that the applicant can bring to show that they have compelling reasons to return home and have a legitimate reason for temporary travel in the U.S. will help guarantee that the consular officer will issue a visa.

Additional Information

Make sure the following materials are brought to the interview: The application form DS-156 (and DS-157, if applicable), a valid passport, a 2X2 photograph, supporting documents, and the application fee.

The following is a list of helpful links for the visa process:

For more detailed information please visit the Business Visa Center website or the U.S. Department of State website


Pittsburgh main