B-1 Domestic Workers

Overview

B-1 for Domestic Workers is one of the infrequently used visa category that can be very helpful for foreign nationals in the U.S. in non-immigrant status (B, E, F, H, I, J, L or TN visa holders) or U.S. citizens residing abroad and temporarily staying in the U.S.  

A domestic worker can be employed by a foreign national as long as the foreign national is in non-immigrant status or by a U.S. citizen who is returning to the U.S. for no more than four years.  A domestic worker may be admitted initially for up to six months but can receive extension of stay in increments of six months to a year. 

B-1 for Domestic Workers Procedure & Requirements

  • Domestic worker applicant must demonstrate that s/he has a residence abroad which s/he has no intention of abandoning;
  • Domestic worker must have worked for the employer for at least one year or in the alternate must have at least one year of prior experience working as a domestic worker;
  • If the domestic worker has been employed abroad by the employer for less than one year, the employer must document that while abroad, s/he has regularly employed a domestic worker in same capacity as that for which the B-1 domestic worker visa is being sought;
  • Employer and the domestic worker must sign employment contract which should list the duties, work hours, vacation time, sick days, etc.;
  • Employer must pay greater of either the minimum wage or the prevailing wage;
  • Employer must document his ability to pay the employee’s wages while in the U.S.;
  • Upon arrival in the U.S., the domestic worker must file and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before beginning work.

Related Issues

  • A domestic worker cannot begin work while the EAD application is pending;
  • The EAD is issued for the duration of B-1 status so it is highly recommended to concurrently file B-1 and EAD extension to avoid possible gaps in employment eligibility;
  • As part of the employment contract, the employer has to provide free room and board.