B-1 Visitor Visa
Additional NAFTA B-1 Visa Business Activities
1. NAFTA B-1 Visitor Visa:
The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) B-1 visa classification is a supplemental category to the general B-1 visa classification and was implemented into U.S. immigration law at the same time as the TN provisions of NAFTA.
Under NAFTA, citizens of Canada and Mexico may temporarily enter the U.S. to engage in "business activities" without obtaining specific employment authorization provided they otherwise comply with existing U.S. immigration laws. NAFTA Annex 1603 (A) (1).
In addition to the general B-1 visa activities permitted under U.S. immigration law, NAFTA expands the permissible business activities that Canadian and Mexican citizens may perform under B-1 visa status. NAFTA Appendix 1603.A.1 provides a list of business activities representative of a complete business cycle, which citizens of Canada or Mexico may perform under B-1 visa status.
The Appendix is not an exhaustive list. Although eligible to perform these additional NAFTA B-1 business activities, citizens of Mexico or Canada remain eligible to enter the U.S. to engage in the traditional B-1 visa activities provided under prior U.S. immigration law.
2. NAFTA B-1 Visa Business Cycle Activities List:
Under NAFTA Appendix 1603.A.1, citizens of Canada and Mexico may enter the U.S. under the B-1 visa classification to perform the following business activities.
a. Research and Design Activities: Technical, scientific and statistical researchers conducting independent research or research for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico.
b. Growth, Manufacture and Production Activities: Harvester owner supervising a harvesting crew admitted under applicable law. Purchasing and production management personnel conducting commercial transactions for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico.
c. Marketing Activities: Market researchers and analysts conducting independent research or analysis or research or analysis for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico. Trade fair and promotional personnel attending a trade convention.
d. Sales Activities: Sales representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico but not delivering goods or providing services. Buyers purchasing for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico.
e. Distribution Activities: Transportation operators transporting goods or passengers to the territory of a NAFTA Party from the territory of another NAFTA Party or loading and transporting goods or passengers from the territory of a NAFTA Party, with no unloading in that territory, to the territory of another NAFTA Party.
With respect to temporary entry into the United States, Canadian customs brokers performing brokerage duties relating to the export of goods from the United States to or through the territory of Canada.
Customs brokers providing consulting services regarding the facilitation of the import or export of goods.
f. After Sales Service: Installers, repair and maintenance personnel, and supervisors, possessing specialized knowledge essential to a seller's contractual obligation, performing services or training workers to perform services, pursuant to a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery, including computer software, purchased from an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico, during the life of the warranty or service agreement.
g. General Service: Professionals engaging in a business activity at a professional level in a profession set out in Appendix 1603.D.1 (these are the occupations listed under the TN visa classification).
Management and supervisory personnel engaging in a commercial transaction for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico.
Financial services personnel (insurers, bankers or investment brokers) engaging in commercial transactions for an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico.
Public relations and advertising personnel consulting with business associates, or attending or participating in conventions.
Tourism personnel (tour and travel agents, tour guides or tour operators) attending or participating in conventions or conducting a tour that has begun in Canada or Mexico.
Tour bus operators entering the U.S.: (a) with a group of passengers on a bus tour that has begun in, and will return to, Canada or Mexico; (b) to meet a group of passengers on a bus tour that will end, and the predominant portion of which will take place, in Canada or Mexico; or (c) with a group of passengers on a bus tour to be unloaded in the U.S., and returning with no passengers or reloading with the group for transportation to Canada or Mexico.
Translators or interpreters performing services as employees of an enterprise located in Canada or Mexico.
3. Evidence Required for NAFTA B-1 Visa:
Citizens of Canada and Mexico may enter the U.S. as a NAFTA B-1 visa visitor by presenting:
a. Proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship.
b. Documentation demonstrating the permissible business acitivity and describing the purpose of the entry.
c. Evidence demonstrating that the proposed business activity is international in scope and that the applicant is not seeking to enter the local labor market. NAFTA Annex 1603 (A) (1) (a) - (c).
In order to demonstrate the international scope of the proposed business activity, the applicant may show that (i) the primary source of remuneration for the proposed business activity is outside the U.S.; and (ii) the applicant's principal place of business and the actual place of accrual of profits predominantly remains outside the U.S. NAFTA Annex 1603 (A) (2).
Under NAFTA, U.S. immigration officials must "normally accept an oral declaration as to the principal place of business and the actual place of accrual of profits." If further evidence is required, NAFTA states that U.S. immigration officials "shall normally consider a letter from the employer attesting to these matters as sufficient proof." NAFTA Annex 1603 (A) (2).
The U.S. immigration regulations require that all NAFTA B-1 visa applicants still meet the general requirements for the B-1 visa classification, including the source of remuneration requirements. In addition to a description of the applicant's activities, the regulations also require applicants to possess a valid, unexpired entry document such as a passport or visa (for non-Canadian citizens), and evidence that he/she will be engaged in one of the occupations or professions described above. 8 C.F.R. § 214.2 (b) (4).
4. More Information:
- NAFTA Annex 1603.
- NAFTA Appendix 1603.A.1.
- 8 C.F.R. § 214.2 (b) (4).
- CBP Inspector's Field Manual § 15.5.
Revised June 7, 2010.