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I am a self employed individual (Indian Citizen) working with a company based in the USA and I plan to travel there for tourism purposes and also to visit the company (to meet the team). I also have other circumstances because of which I cannot prove strong ties with my home country.

I came across several instances while researching online that a B1/B2 Visa might be refused as they might consider that I would go and work with the said company while on US land and could prove to be the grounds for refusal.

The other point is, since I am a sole proprietor, I do not have a parent company that is 'sending' me to USA and to which I will come back to. It is just me, working individually.

Is H1B even an alternative? I do not have any plans to stay in USA or settle down there (although, as stated above, its difficult to prove this). Is there any other type of visa that allows me to visit once in a while and would be easier to get under the circumstances?

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    How long are you planning to stay? Anyway, I doubt there are any realistic alternatives to B1/B2. H1B would require that you actually be an employee of the US company, and obtaining one is a very long and expensive process. – Nate Eldredge Oct 18 '16 at 12:34
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    The stay would be a maximum of 2 months. I agree, H1B would be difficult to go about. – Nandeep Mali Oct 18 '16 at 12:50
  • @pnuts That is correct. I will not be working in the USA, but about getting paid: what if it is a paid leave? The money is still being transferred back home as per the contract. And you are right, "meeting the team", I will probably not mention it in the interview anyway. It is a hard point to explain or justify once out. – Nandeep Mali Oct 18 '16 at 12:52
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    Referencing your other question, you might want to add to your documentation the letter from US company that your contract is valid only if you work from India. Having business meetings with that company is certainly appropriate to the B1/B2 visa. – Giorgio Oct 18 '16 at 16:07
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    Another suggestion: rather than saying that you work with, or work for, it might be better to describe the relationship as being 'under contract to' the US entity. – Giorgio Oct 18 '16 at 17:30
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No, an H1b is not the appropriate visa for your situation.
An H1b is a work-visa and it is sponsored by & applied for by the company in the USA in order for you to become a full-time employee of theirs - living & working in the USA.
There are limited numbers of these visas issued and applications are generally only accepted at a specific time of year.

What you need is a B1/B2.
I was in much the same situation as you are in (although it was 15 years ago) - owned my own consulting business and wanted to 'visit' a customer in the USA with which I'd had an ongoing business relationship for the previous year or 2.
You'll need to show convincing evidence of a legitimate ongoing business in your home country to which you will return and you'll need to show that your business will survive with you being absent for this period of time.

I had been running my business for about 3.5 years at the time I applied and could show tax returns and other evidence of a genuine operational business.
I had documentation from the company I was to be visiting stating the purpose of the visit and that they would be covering all of my costs.
I was only issued a single-entry visa, valid for less than 2 weeks, on that occasion, but subsequent visas were issued for 6 months and most recently for 10 years (since I behaved myself and complied with all of the rules).

  • That still leaves me with the dilemma of not being able to show a "legitimate ongoing business". See my linked question. In short: Since I am an individual, I do not have a registered business. The things that I have are: Tax filings, invoices, bank statements, my service tax number, contract with the USA company. But, these do not show a binding to a particular country. Would it involve renting an office? India does not have a formal process for a sole proprietor and am not sure what the USA visa office folks are expecting from such an individual, hence this post. – Nandeep Mali Oct 18 '16 at 17:52

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