The B-1 visa is available for any foreign national who wishes to enter the United States for any business-related function, such as to attend conferences, take orders, to negotiate with existing businesses or customers, or to execute service agreements. However, the visitor must be conducting temporary business activity for a foreign employer, and the trip must not lead to gainful employment in the United States.

B-1 status is approved for the period of time necessary to complete the business activity and usually does not exceed six months. However, should the visitor require more time, s/he may apply for an extension while in the United States at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The application for extension must be received by the CIS before the expiry of the B-1 status.

To obtain a B-1 visa one must apply directly at the U.S. Consulate. The applicant must prove that s/he has a permanent residence status in another country and has no intention of abandoning this status. However, there are national of certain countries, who do not need a visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate to enter the U.S. for a maximum temporary period of 90 days under a Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). There is no extension of the 90-day period, and those who enter the U.S. under the VWPP may not be able to change to a different non-immigrant status or to permanent resident status, except for the immediate relative (spouse or children under 21) of a U.S. In order to obtain a different status, the visitor must leave the country and then apply for a new visa.