B-1 Visa Insurance
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Business Visitors – B-1 Visa
Millions of people travel to the U.S. every year for business and tourism. Between the B-1, B-2, and combined B-1/B-2 visa, over 3,000,000 visas were awarded in 2010 for business and pleasure visits to the United States. If you are planning a business trip to the U.S., then you will need the B-1 visa for business visitors. The B-1 visa is reserved for those traveling in order to consult with a business; attend a scientific, educational, or professional convention; a conference; to settle an estate; or negotiate a contract.
What Is a B-1 Visa?
There are a lot of people who wonder what is a B1 visa and how is it different from other U.S. visas. The B-1 visa grants a 6-12 month stay in the United States for business visitors conducting a wide range of business activities. It is a temporary visa, meaning that you are only allowed a short visit with an expressed purpose. If you are planning to work for a U.S.-based company and earn a salary, you do not qualify for the B1 visa. Athletes, investors, researchers, salespersons, lecturers, engineers, and conference attendees all qualify, provided that they will not be earning a direct income from an American business while in the United States.
Applying for the B-1 Visa
Applying for the B-1 visa can become a fairly complicated process when you do not take the time to fully understand every step that you have to complete. In order for you to receive your visa, you must fill out forms, schedule an interview with an embassy or consulate, pay your visa fees, and prepare for your interview. Before you will be awarded a visa, you must go through all of these steps and complete them to the best of your ability. Follow these four steps to apply for a B-1 visa:
- Apply for Visa: Fill out form DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, available here. Through this form, a consular officer will begin to process your visa, and when the form is combined with your interview, it will ultimately determine your eligibility for a visa.
- Arrange an Interview: Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you to schedule an interview. Check here to find the website of your local embassy. Because some embassies are busier than others, the U.S. Department of State provides average wait times for how long it will take before you can have your interview and for the processing time of your application. Before you go to your interview, you may also want to think about purchasing B-1 visa insurance that will keep you safe and secure while you are traveling in the U.S. In some cases, having insurance will help you prove that you are prepared and ready to travel to the U.S. and will impress the consulate officer who is reviewing your case.
- Pay Visa Fees: There are two fees that you will most likely have to pay in order to receive your visa: visa application processing fee and issuance fee. For all B type visas the application processing fee is $160. If you are issued the visa that you have applied for, then you will have to pay an issuance fee, which is based on the type of visa, your home country, the time period in which your visa is valid, and the number of applications.
- Prepare for Your Interview: Organize necessary documents, such as your passport and a 2x2 photograph. Other documents you need to take with you include: proof of finances, evidence to support the purpose of your trip, documents that support your intent to leave the U.S., and the arrangements to cover the cost of your trip. Be sure to show up on time for your interview, answer all of the questions honestly, and be respectful of your interviewer. The consulate officer who interviews you ultimately has the power to approve or reject your application, so be sure you are confident in your answers. Remember, they can find out information pretty easily, so honesty is the best policy.
Business Travel Insurance
HCCMIS offers two excellent travel health insurance products to suit the needs of business visitors on a B-1 visa: Atlas MultiTrip insurance and Atlas Travel Insurance.
|Highlights||Atlas MultiTripTM Insurance||Atlas Travel® Insurance|
|Type of Coverage||Multi-trip||Single Trip|
|Length of Coverage||all day trips with durations lasting up to 30 or 45 days for up to 364 days||1 trip lasting up to 364 days|
|Cover in U.S.||Yes||Yes|
|Coverage for Medical Expenses||Yes||Yes|
- Upon purchase of either Atlas MultiTrip insurance or Atlas Travel insurance, you are provided with a “Visa Letter” showing proof of coverage, which shows the visa holder's name, passport information, length of stay, and medical coverage maximums that can be taken to your visa interview appointment.
- You get access to a network of doctors and hospitals in locations across the country willing to help you in the event of a medical emergency.
- You are connected with the World Service Center, a team of customer service professionals trained to assist in English, Spanish, and many other languages in the event of sickness, accident, or other types of medical emergencies.
If you still aren’t sure if Atlas MultiTrip or Atlas Travel insurance are the right plans for your business travel insurance, try our product selection tool to find the best product for your business travel needs.
American Business Etiquette Tips
Interacting with the locals in a foreign country can present a number of interesting and unusual situations. Your idea of what is proper can vary drastically from theirs, and learning how to fit in usually takes some time. As a business visitor, your knowledge of American business etiquette could be the difference between a closed deal and a missed opportunity. Here are just a few tips for what to expect while doing business in the United States:
Dress for Success: The wardrobe of the typical American businessperson is rather difficult to identify. Some companies require fully professional attire (suits, ties), while others only enforce a “business casual” dress code, which can allow employees to wear jeans and a nice shirt. Additionally, many businesses participate in “Casual Fridays,” allowing their employees to wear more expressive, comfortable clothes every Friday. When in doubt, always dress as professionally as possible that way you give off the appearance of caring about what you are doing. You should be dressing to impress your potential new partners or clients.
Set up a business lunch: There’s no better way to get to know someone than by sharing a meal together. If you are looking to set up a meeting with a new business contact, invite them to lunch or dinner. Conversations tend to flow more freely when food is involved. You could also suggest getting a meal after a meeting so that you can establish a more personal relationship with your clients or whomever you are meeting . If you do end up sharing a meal together, be sure you are polite and courteous and if you are unsure how something in American etiquette is done, then watch the person you are eating with or just ask questions. It is better to ask questions than risk offending someone.
Reply Promptly: In the age of social media and instant communication, the typical businessperson has grown impatient. Most American businesses rely on email for efficient communications. One of the best ways to look respectful and professional in the eyes of a business contact is to always reply to emails and phone calls quickly. Obviously, you can’t always respond within a few seconds of receiving that email or voicemail, but you should respond as quickly as possible. By responding promptly you show that you care about the person and the business relationship you are trying to set up, and this goes a long way in the U.S.
Be on Time: Besides responding to business associates promptly, you should be sure you are on time for every business meeting that you have. It is actually a great idea to show up early for a meeting. While meeting times are more relaxed in some parts of the world, they are usually pretty rigid in the U.S., and to show up late for a meeting is considered extremely rude. In fact, if you make someone wait on you, you could potentially lose the client and/or business deal.
Managing Your Time While in the U.S. on Business
Your main purpose for the trip is to conduct business, but you are most likely going to have a little bit of down time, and you should use that time to explore. It is easy to become so wrapped up in your work that you forget you are in a new country and city. Traveling, even for business purposes, allows you a chance to explore new cultures and see some amazing things that you normally would not have a chance to see. Here are some tips on how to manage your time between pleasure and fun:
- Work most likely can be done from a coffee shop or restaurant, so get out there and mingle with people while you work.
- If you have time between meetings, take a walk through a park or go visit a museum. This is a great chance to simply see a small part of the city in which you are conducting business.
- Ask the people you are meeting with about the places they like go for dinner or drinks. There is a good chance that these places are spots that many locals like to go to, which means there will be good food and drinks.
- Invite the people in your meeting to get a meal with you. They will be able to suggest a place and provide you with company while you eat.
- Avoid room service. Yes, the food might be good and convenient, but it means that you will be in your hotel. Go out and explore the food scene of wherever you are.
Business is handled slightly differently everywhere in the world. Conducting business in the U.S. while under a B-1 visa may be new to you. So, you should do your best to be prepared. As you are preparing for your meetings or to attend a conference, do not forget to prepare for a new culture. Knowing about the U.S. before you travel will help you avoid culture shock and will help you navigate through life while you are staying in the U.S.
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