USA Business Travel Guide

International business travelers seeking to enter the United States for business (B-1/B-2 visa) may be eligible to travel to the USA for less than 90 days visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if they meet specific requirements.

United States is the most important and economically-stable country in the whole world. United States has the largest GDP in the world and 2nd largest by PPP. With a GDP per capita of of $68,000 as of 2021, United States offers a large number of opportunities for the seasonsed businessmen or investors or entrepreneurs who have a successful business in their home country and are looking forward to expanding their business or want to start a new business in United States. You can opt for a short-term trip to United States to explore new business opportunities.

Passport holders from 39 countries are eligible under the Visa Waiver Program or ESTA US Visa (Electronic System for System Authorization). ESTA US Visa allows you Visa-free travel to the USA and is generally preferred by business travellers since it can be completed online, requires significantly less planning and does not require a visit to US embassy or consulate. Its worth nothing that while ESTA US Visa can be used for a business trip, you cannot take up employment or permanent residence.

If your ESTA US Visa application is not approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), then you will have to apply for a B-1 or B-2 business visa and cannot travel visa-free or even appeal the decision.

Eligible business travellers can apply for an ESTA US Visa Application in a matter of minutes. ESTA US Visa process is automated, simple, and completely online.

US Business Travel

Who is a business visitor to United States?

You will be considered a business visitor under following scenarios:

  • You are visiting USA temporarily to
    • attending business convention or meetings to grow your business
    • want to invest in USA or negotiate contracts
    • want to pursue and extend your business relationships
  • You want to visit United States for participation in international business activities and you are not part of US labour market and

As a business visitor on a temporary visit, you can stay in United States for upto 90 days.

While citizens of Canada and Bermuda generally do not need visas to conduct temporary business, some business trips may require a visa.

What are business opportunities in United States?

Below are top 6 Business Opportunities in United States for immigrants:

  • E-Commerce distribution center: Ecommerence in USA is growing at 16% since 2016
  • International Trade Consulting Company: With business landscape in the United States always changing, a consulting company would help other companies keep up and manage these changes in regulations, tariffs, and other uncertainties
  • Corporate Immigration Consultant: many American businesses rely on immigrants for top talent
  • Affordable Elderly Care Facilities: with an aging population there is there is a massive need for elderly care facilities
  • Remote Worker Integration Company: help SMBs integrate security and other software to manage remote employees
  • Salon Business Opportunities: fewer opportunities are better than setting up a hairdressing business

Eligibility requirements for a business visitor

  • you will stay for upto 90 days or less
  • you have a stable and thriving business outside of United States in your home country
  • you do not intend to join American labour market
  • you should have valid travel documents like passport
  • you should be financially stable and able to support yourself for entire duration of stay in Canada
  • you should have return tickets or show intention to leave United States before your ESTA US Visa expires
  • must not have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011
  • you must not have past criminal conviction and will not be a security risk to Americans

Read about full Read our full ESTA US Visa Requirements.

Which all activities are allowed as a business visitor to United States?

  • Attending business conferences or meetings or trade fairs
  • Consulting with business associates
  • Negotiating contracts or taking orders for business services or goods
  • Project scoping
  • Attending short training programs by American parent company that you work for outside USA

It is a good idea to carry appropriate paperwork with you when you travel to USA. You may be asked questions about your planned activities at the port of entry by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. Supporting evidence could include a letter from your employer or business partners on their company letterhead. You should also be able to explain your itinerary in detail.

Activities not permitted as a business visitor to United States

  • You must not join United States labour market when entering USA on ESTA US Visa as a business visitor. This means that you cannot work or undertake paid or gainful employment
  • You must not study as a business visitor
  • You must not take up permanent residence
  • You must not be remunerated from a US based business and deny a US resident worker of employment opportunity

How to enter United States as a busienss visitor?

Depending upon your passport nationality, you will either need a US visitor visa (B-1, B-2) or ESTA US Visa (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to enter United States on a short-term business trip. Citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply for an ESTA US Visa:

Read our full guide about what to expect after you have applied for ESTA United States Visa.

Check your eligibility for US ESTA and apply for US ESTA 72 hours in advance of your flight. British citizens, Spanish citizens, French citizens, Japanese citizens and Italian citizens can apply online for ESTA US Visa. Should you need any help or require any clarifications you should contact our helpdesk for support and guidance.