Streamlining the Business Visa Process

Calendar Icon Updated January 15, 2019
Visas

Because commerce is the lifeblood of economies throughout the world and doing business on an international scale is more important than ever, the Department of State created the Business Visa Center. The Center’s role is to make it easier for businesses in the U.S. and international business partners to travel to and from the United States in the most expedited way possible.

The Business Visa Center can assist and answer questions for businesses in the United States and help applicants process B-1 visa requests. The Center’s role is primarily informational only. It cannot speed up the processing of visa applications or guarantee that a visa will be issued. That decision rests only with consular officials at U.S. embassies or consulates where an application is submitted.

Business travelers are advised to apply for visas as soon as they know they will be traveling to the United States. They should allow at least 60 days for processing, possibly longer. 

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Visa applicants will need to schedule an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate as the first step in securing a visa. If a business traveler needs to travel the United States on a time sensitive basis, they can contact the Embassy or consulate and request an expedited appointment. The applicant should know the exact date they need to travel when contacting officials, and understand that a decision to grant an expedited appointment is purely discretionary and based partly on what U.S. national interests might be related to the business at hand.

If a business visa is denied, the Business Visa Center may be able to assist the traveler by contacting embassy officials if new or additional information is available. In all cases, it is best not to purchase travel tickets until a visa has been approved. Applicants should never assume that a visa will be approved, no matter how strong a case may be.

For more information on business visas, United States based businesses can contact the Business Visa Center at businessvisa@state.gov which is the preferred method of contact. 

Businesses can also call the Business Visa Center at 202- 485-7675, Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5 pm, EST. For visa questions that are more general in nature, queries should be directed to the National Visa Center by calling 603-334-0700, Monday through Friday, 7 am to midnight.

Eligibility Team

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