It is not uncommon for many families and business people to bring personal assistants with them while traveling to the United States. These people can be nannies, butlers, maids, cooks, chauffeurs, and others. These domestic workers may come to the United States under a B-1 visa if they and their employer meet certain qualifications.
The B-1 visa requirements for a domestic worker are tied to the immigration status of the employer. Unfortunately for legal permanent residents (green card holders), they may not bring a domestic worker under a B-1 visa under any circumstances. For U.S. citizen and nonimmigrant visa employers, however, the option is available to bring domestic workers under a B-1 visa if both they and their domestic worker satisfy certain requirements.
For US Citizen Employers
U.S. citizens themselves must meet a certain requirement before even considering bringing a domestic worker under a B-1 visa, which can be satisfied in one of two ways. One way to satisfy this requirement is to show that the U.S. citizen employer ordinarily resides in the U.S. and is traveling to the U.S. temporarily. Or, in the alternative, the U.S. citizen employer can satisfy this requirement by showing that he or she is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more and who, as a condition of employment, is going to reside in the United States for a stay no longer than four years.
There is also a relationship requirement that must be satisfied between the U.S. citizen employer and the B-1 visa domestic employee. This requirement can be satisfied in one of two ways. One way this requirement is satisfied is by showing that the employer-employee relationship existed for at least 6 months prior to the employer’s admission to the United States. Or, in the alternative, the U.S. citizen employer has regularly employed a domestic servant in the same capacity while abroad;
The employee must also satisfy two requirements. First, the employee has had at least one year experience as a personal or domestic servant, which can be proven by producing statements from previous employers attesting to such experience. Second, the employee must have no other work, and will receive from the employer free room and board and round trip airfare as indicated under the terms of the employment contract.
For Non-Immigrant Visa Employers
The above requirements apply only to U.S. citizens seeking to obtain a B-1 visa for their domestic workers. For nonimmigrant visa employers seeking to do the same, they have slightly different but still similar requirements to satisfy. As an initial matter, only nonimmigrant visa holding employers with the following visas are allowed to bring domestic workers under a B-1 visa in the first place: B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or R visas.
The domestic worker must satisfy slightly different requirements than what would be required if the employer was a U.S. citizen. The first requirement is a relationship requirement and can be satisfied in one of two ways. One way to satisfy this relationship requirement is by showing that the domestic worker has been employed outside the United States by your employer for at least one year prior to the date of your employer’s admission to the United States. Or, in the alternative, the employer-employee relationship existed immediately prior to the time of your employer’s application, and the nonimmigrant visa employer can demonstrate that he/she regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) domestic help over a period of years preceding the time their application
In addition, the domestic worker must satisfy two additional requirements. First, the domestic worker has at least one year’s experience as a personal or domestic employee as attested to by statements from previous employers. Second, the domestic worker will have no other work, and will receive free room and board and round trip airfare from your employer as indicated under the terms of the employment contract. This is very much similar to the requirements for domestic workers working for U.S. citizens.
All B-1 Domestic Workers
Regardless of whether the B-1 domestic worker is employed by a U.S. citizen or a nonimmigrant visa holder, the domestic worker must show the following:
- The purpose of their trip is to enter the United States for work as a domestic employee;
- They plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
- Their employer meets certain qualifications as stated above;
- They have evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and
- They have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure their return abroad at the end of the contract.
- They are at least 16 years old.
- They are not related to the employer by family relationship.
The B-1 visa domestic worker cannot bring their family members as dependents. The family members must seek their own visa categories, such as a B-2 visa, and meet those requirements independently.
In addition to these requirements, the contract defining the relationship between the employer and the domestic worker must be carefully drafted to not only protect the rights of both the employer and employee, but also to meet USCIS requirements. In addition, the domestic worker must still obtain employment authorization.
If you have questions about visa options for your domestic worker or if you have general immigration questions, please contact our office today.