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Business Visitor Visa

A business visitor visa typically enables an individual to engage in short-term business trips to the foreign host country. The business visa is typically issued by the Consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction over the individual’s place of residence.  (Occasionally, a visa may be issued either electronically or at the point-of-entry.) A business visa requires that an individual enter the host country to perform permitted activities for a specified period of time.

In some cases, a treaty or special agreement authorizes entry into the host country without first obtaining a visa.

Business visitors may participate in activities authorized by the host country within the specified admission period. Generally speaking, business visitors are prohibited from engaging in productive work-related activities accruing to the benefit of the foreign host company and must instead secure a work permit in many instances.

Each country defines permissible business visitor activities somewhat differently. In general, permissible business activities may include the following:

  • Participate in professional meetings, including sales meetings with potential customers.
  • Solicit orders, provide product information, negotiate contracts, and resolve issues with customers for sales and marketing personnel.
  • Negotiate with unrelated third parties who are potential acquisition targets, or negotiate a contract for joint ventures, manufacturing affiliations, joint marketing, sourcing and licensing agreements, particularly for executives and managers.
  • Represent shareholders or exercise fiduciary oversight of local affiliates or branches, particularly for senior managers or executives.
  • Conduct internal audits for an affiliated company in the host country.
  • Participate in training sessions and/or exhibitions and seminars organized by the company, trade organizations, and universities.

In order to qualify for a business visa, an individual generally must meet the following requirements:

  • Maintain a residence and have an employer outside of the host country. The business visitor must intend to visit the host country for a limited, specified period of time and may not be subordinated to the management of the entity doing business in the host country.
  • Receive compensation/salary from the employer in the home country; however, incidental expenses such as hotel room, cost of travel, and meals may usually be paid by the host company.
  • Have proof of adequate funds to defray expenses while on the business visit.
  • Have proof of international health insurance.
  • The period of intended stay must be consistent with the intended purpose of the trip.

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