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arbj

B1 visa questions. Investigating business opportunities

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Hi,

I am an Indian national, I am a director in my family owned Indian company (I own 40% share).  I have a valid B1/B2 visa, and have been to the USA several times in the past for business promotion activities. This year I registered a  foreign owned single entity LLC in the state of Ohio. The US company has a qualifying relation with the Indian company. 

I am considering getting a L1-A visa so I can work fully in the US company. However before this to test the market, I would like to conduct the following activities.

1. Market research. Visit potential customers and introduce the US company to them.

2. Search for possible office sites.

3. Interview potential contractors & employees.

4. Promote the products made in Indian company to potential customers in USA. 

5. Open a bank account for the US company.

I understand I am allowed to stay for 180 days max. I plan on doing the above activities for 3-4 months, then leave for Latin American countries ( we have customers there as well),  and return after a month. Then stay for additional 3-4 months or so, then depart to India. Stay in India for 2-3 months, then return again. This cycle could continue for 2-3 years until the business picks up and it becomes viable to operate the US company.

During the above period, my expenses, including local travel, food, lodging etc will be paid by the Indian company. I will not be receiving any funds from the US company during this period. 

My queries are as follows.
1. Can the above activities be done on a B1 visa?

2. Will my frequent re-entry (twice in a year) into the US raise a flag?  

3. I would like to distribute catalogs & business cards with the Ohio address to my customers, will this be seen as working for the US company??  The promotional matter will have Indian company details as well.

4. Do you think the US immigration officials will accept my reason of Business venture research? Do I have to furnish proof?? if so what kind of proof??

5. Will the business cards with Ohio LLC address be considered proof that I am working for the US company?

6. What kind of proofs do I have to furnish to CBP to prove I am being paid by the Indian company?

thanks

a

Edited by arbj

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On 9/12/2021 at 5:03 AM, JoeF said:

On a B1 you can not do work for the US company.

I would be working for the Indian company, in promoting the US company, and being paid by the Indian company. I think this is allowed. I think I am also allowed to hire staff for the US company, interview contractors, sign office lease, explore potential markets etc.

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On 9/13/2021 at 1:20 AM, pontevecchio said:

You should give the firm a call and go on from there.

Which firm?? Could you elaborate more please...

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On 9/16/2021 at 8:35 AM, arbj said:

I would be working for the Indian company, in promoting the US company, and being paid by the Indian company. I think this is allowed. I think I am also allowed to hire staff for the US company, interview contractors, sign office lease, explore potential markets etc.

"Open a bank account for the US company." That would be working for the US company. You can't do that on B1.

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On 9/16/2021 at 8:35 AM, arbj said:

I would be working for the Indian company, in promoting the US company, and being paid by the Indian company. I think this is allowed. I think I am also allowed to hire staff for the US company, interview contractors, sign office lease, explore potential markets etc.

You can't sign any office lease. That would be working for the US company. You can't open a bank account for the US company, either. All you could do would be hiring a manager/CEO for the US company who would then be able to hire staff, sign an office lease, open a bank account, etc. for the US company.

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