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I have very unusual situation. My current employer is going to send me to USA in few days to perform "kind of research" and i'm going to travel during my free time.

Let me describe that "research". Our company is shipping car to USA and then we need to test some equipment installed in that vehicle (cameras + sensors etc). Basically just driving and testing that everything is ok, sending reports and data directly back to my country. That's it. We are paid from my country, no deals or service for any US individual or company. We need around 3 months to be done. Then we are going to Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Australia etc..

Are we ok with B1/B2? We never had any troubles with business visas anywhere around the globe.

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    Tell them the truth. That’s the only option – user 56513 Apr 22 at 11:50
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Your situation isn't all that odd. Thousands of Companies from all over the world send their employees to the United States to conduct business daily. There is no such thing as "kind of research". You are either conducting work (or business, and your testing would easily be classified as business), or you are not.

Whether or not you plan on doing some sight-seeing and travel during your free time is up to you, and doesn't negate the fact that you are in the United States primarily to do testing and conduct business.

That leads to your next question about the Visa Requirements: It sounds like you and your colleagues will need a B1 Visa, not a B2 Visa.

From the Department of State website, a B-1 Visa is to be used to:

  • Consult with business associates.
  • Attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference.
  • Settle an estate.
  • Negotiate a contract.

You will be doing the first as part of your testing. You are on company time, doing company work (testing, research), using company equipment, and consulting/communicating with work (company) colleagues.

Simply tell border agents the truth. Read more here. (PDF)

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    I’m far from convinced a B1 visa is appropriate for this activity. – jcaron May 6 at 20:12
  • @jcaron, are you suggesting that they need something even more restrictive than a B-1 Visa? If so, I would actually agree with you. Like I mentioned in my post, He most likely needs at a 'minimum' a B-1. Also, here on StackExchange, when we answer questions or provide comments, we always provide a reason why. This helps add context and relevance to the discussion. "I'm far from convinced..." does nothing to add substantially to the conversation. Thanks! – user58700 May 8 at 15:16
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    B1 is correct. travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/… Engineer(s) install, service or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a non-U.S. company to a U.S. buyer, when specifically required by the purchase contract. Installation cannot include construction work, except for supervision or training of U.S. workers to perform construction. – user 56513 May 12 at 17:29

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