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Visa Free Travel

Visa Options Visa Waiver and the B Visa for Business: Common Misconceptions. This is the first of a series of three articles by US Business Immigration Attorney, Deirdre O’Brien, addressing visa issues which concern business managers and executives, specialists and professionals with plans to do business in the US.

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n this article we’ll take a brief look at visa free travel to the US for business purposes (visa waiver for up to 90 days) and the B-1 visitor visa. The ability to transact business internationally with minimum restriction is vitally important for global business and key company personnel must have the flexibility to travel to foreign countries to conduct business affairs at short notice. Visa waiver (VW) allows nationals of certain countries, including Ireland and the United Kingdom, to travel to the US visa-free, as visitors for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2) for up to 90 days. The B visa is identical to visa waiver in terms of eligibility criteria and permissible activity, but requires

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attendance at a US embassy for interview and facilitates stays beyond 90 days, as well as extension and change to another visa category in some instances. For a list of countries included in the VW Program see http://travel. state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990. html#citizen Anyone who has traveled to the US in the last few years using VW will know that it is necessary to complete the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) online before traveling to the US; authorization is granted for 2 years generally. See https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ Denial of ESTA may occur where the applicant has been arrested or has a criminal record,

has previously stayed in the US beyond an authorized period or committed some other immigration violation; a B visa is required to visit the US in these cases. Nationals of many countries, including Ireland and the UK, are eligible for multiple entry 10-year B visas, with each entry to the US granted for up to six months. Although the B-1 can be used for a diverse range of activities not associated with business (sports-related endeavors and domestic employees/nannies are examples), our concern is with the B-1 business visitor visa and VW for business (noted ’WB’ for ’Waiver Business’ in passports). There are many legitimate uses of the B-1 visa and VW, but knowledge of what’s

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