October 22, 2020

The U.S. State Department Proposes Removal of B-1 in Lieu of H Visa Category

The U.S. State Department is proposing a revision of the B-1 visitor visa rules, so that it will no longer be possible for individuals to obtain a B-1 visa “in lieu of” an H-1B specialty occupation or H-3 trainee visa. If this proposal goes into effect, individuals will no longer be able enter the USA under B-1 status and perform H-1B activities on a short-term basis while remaining on foreign payroll.

What has changed?

The B-1 visa is in place for foreign nationals who require authorization to enter the United States for business purposes for a limited period of time while remaining on foreign payroll. Under the B-1 status, they are not permitted to undertake productive employment in the U.S. However, the State Department will in certain circumstances permit individuals who would typically qualify for a H-1B visa to use the B-1 classification if required for a specific and limited duration, while also remaining on foreign payroll. The same provision is also made for foreign nationals who qualify for the H-3 visa entering the USA for training purposes.

Despite this being a long-standing option for foreign nationals, the Department of State is now proposing to eliminate the B-1 in lieu of H visa classifications. After publication in the Federal Register on October 21, the agency is accepting comments from the public on the proposal for 60 days. Following this period, the State Department will review the feedback and may revise the ruling, depending on the public commentary.

If the proposal is finalized, individuals who currently have B-1 in lieu of H-category visas will not have them revoked, but may be subject to questioning on entry by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

What you need to do

What you need to do For further information on the future of the B1 in lieu of H visa category, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team. 

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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