What is a B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa?

This amalgamation visa sub-category may be suitable for those who otherwise qualify for different categories of visa, but do not have an offer of employment, or do not meet certain specific requirements.

Do I qualify for a B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa?

The main criteria for entry under the B-1 in Lieu of H-1B visa sub-category are that the applicant:

  • Otherwise qualifies for an H-1B visa– “specialty occupation” standard is met;
  • Seeks to engage in work that would otherwise require an H-1B visa;
  • Must not receive any salary or other remuneration from a US source other than an expense allowance or other reimbursement for expenses incidental to their temporary stay; and
  • Seeks entry for a limited duration, usually not exceeding six months.

Can I bring my family?

Your family may enter at the same time as you on ESTA if eligible or by obtaining a B visa if not. This is, as always, subject to them being admissible to the United States.

Can my family work and study?


For how long is B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa valid?

As a temporary visa, a B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa will generally be approved for one year. This will not permit you to enter for a non-stop period of one year but multiple times within that year.

What are the benefits of B-1 in lieu of H-1B visas?
  • Unlike H-1B, you do not require labor certification and are not subject to the annual cap
  • Unlike B-1, you will be permitted to perform productive work for specified assignments
  • The procedure is fast and does not require a petition to USCIS
  • Is a solution for many who cannot or do not wish to obtain longer non-immigrant visas

What are the limitations of B-1 in lieu of H-1B visas?
  • It is usually unsuitable if you are not on assignment from a foreign company
  • It is a relatively unknown category so without the assistance of a lawyer applications can easily fail
  • One person or small companies can come under scrutiny for attempting to use the category to evade the general rules
  • No remuneration may be received from a US source

Where do I file?

Filing takes place at your local embassy/consulate. Procedure can differ between countries but has the same general requirements.