The Visa Hour: Nonimmigrant B1 Visas for Domestic and Personal Employees

JAMES: [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] Welcome to the latest episode of “The Visa Hour” My name is James I’m a Consular Officer And, today, we’ll discuss nonimmigrant B1 visas for domestic and personal employees CATHERINE: For those of us who wanna travel with our helper JAMES: Or “yaya” or other domestic staff, or visit the United States, we’ll let you know the common issues that we encounter in these applications, and we’ll give you tips on how to avoid these errors and to ensure a smooth and fast visa application CATHERINE: [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] My name is Catherine I’m also a Consular Officer and in addition to what James said, we will also share tips and information about employer responsibilities and employee rights when they travel to the United States JAMES: We’ll also answer any questions that you might have related to the topic during this show You can ask them on our Facebook page at You can also post your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #TheVisaHour First and foremost, let’s define the type of visa that we’re talking about today Catherine, what can you tell us about the B1 domestic visa? CATHERINE: Thank you, James Well, in a nutshell, B1 domestic visas are for domestic or personal employees of nonimmigrant visa holders who will travel to the United States This could be a “yaya”, caregiver or driver American citizens may also bring their domestic employees on a B1 domestic visa if they do not live permanently in the United States or subject to frequent overseas assignments JAMES: The next question is how does one apply for a B1 domestic visa? Like most nonimmigrant visas, the first step in applying for a B1 domestic visa is paying the application fee The fee for this visa-type is $160 and you pay it in Philippine peso equivalent at the branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands After paying the fee, you fill out a DS-160 form It’s online and you can fill it out by going to CATHERINE: After paying and filling out the form, you must now prepare the rest of the application requirements Of course, you still need to have a valid passport You must also have a 2 by 2 inch photo in white background; must be taken within the last six months, with both your ears exposed as much as possible and with a neutral facial expression No smile JAMES: Yes, I think my ears would be too big and not fit on the page Now, this next requirement is very important When you don’t get this right the first time you apply, it will delay your application and possibly affect your travel plans I’m talking about the employment contract For a thorough explanation of this requirement, we’ve prepared a short video for you [VIDEO PLAYING] NARRATOR: First, ensure that you have the correct name of the employer on your contract And second, include a brief description of the work duties to be performed by the employee Third, you want to include the number of hours to be worked by the employee each week Be sure to include the days off, holidays, sick and any vacation time Now, the next section of the contract should include wages and compensation Enter the rate of pay using state, federal minimum wage or the prevailing wage, whichever is greater for every hour worked Let’s walk through an example of how you can find the wage you should pay Go to this website: Select state and enter the occupation of your employee The five most common occupations are shown here Next, enter the rate of overtime pay Now, in the U.S, employees working hourly shall receive one and a half times their salary if working more than 40 hours per week Next, you’ll want to enter the frequency and form of payment And that’s it as far as wages There are few other key pieces of information

your contract should include First, you should note that the employer will pay the domestic employee’s travel expenses to and from the United States Then medical insurance, room and board, as provided by the employer You’ll want to note that the employer agrees to abide by all federal, state and local laws in the United States Now, there are few other key pieces of information the employee and employer rights that you must be aware of The employee must not, under any circumstances, stop employment and remain in the United States without legal authorization The employee must return to his or her home after employment You also want to note that the employee will not accept any other employment while working for the employer, and that the employer will not withhold the employee’s passport, employment contract or other personal property, nor prohibit the employee from leaving the premises when the employee is not on duty Again, it should be clear that both parties understand that the employee cannot be required to remain on the premises after working hours without compensation A sample employment contract is available on our website for your reference Thank you We hope this video will be helpful in making the contracting process as smooth as possible CATHERINE: Was that helpful? We hope so Now that you’ve got all of your documents ready, you’re now ready to book your appointment JAMES: To book an appointment, you can either call or you can make an appointment online CATHERINE: The time slot for B1 domestic visa applicants is 7:10 A.M on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday It’s very important that you book the correct time slot If you are not booked for the 7:10 A.M. time slot, you will be turned away from the embassy and you’ll be asked to book a new date Once you have an interview date, there’s one more important step that you have to do before you appear for interview There are five items that we need from your employer, and they must be sent in to the embassy no less than 10 days before your appointment We have another video to show you how that works [VIDEO PLAYING] NARRATOR: Before you appear for your B1 domestic visa interview, the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit must receive the following information no less than 10 days before your scheduled appointment: The visa applicant’s complete name, including middle name and date of birth; Each city and state of the intended employment in the United States; The employer’s and spouse’s complete name, and the name of any family member with whom the applicant might travel You’ll want to include the employer’s and spouse’s date of birth, and that of any family member with whom the applicant might travel Include the employer and the spouse’s nationality, and the name of any family member with whom the applicant might travel The information must be sent to with the subject line: Last Name, First Name B1 Domestic Information Remember, the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit must receive the information no less than 10 days before your scheduled interview If we do not receive the information beforehand, you will not be allowed to proceed to your interview and you will be asked to book a new date Thank you We hope this information is helpful in making your application process as smooth as possible CATHERINE: So as you saw, the applicant has to pay the fee, prepare the documents paying careful attention to the employment contract and to send the required information in advance – 10 days Once done, sit back, relax and wait for your interview date One the day of the interview, applicants have to arrive 15 minutes before 7:10 A.M – so 6:55 A.M They will be prescreened and finger scanned and then interviewed by a Consular Officer Although the presence of the employer is not necessary, it is recommended should the Consular Officer have any additional questions for your employer JAMES: Now, this next step does not need to be scary I’m talking about the interview process

We’ll simply ask you some basic questions during the interview For example, how long have you worked for your employer? The nature of the work that you will do; how much will you be paid while you’re in the U.S.? And, finally, we’ll ask if you’ve read and understood the contents of this pamphlet It’s about your rights as a worker in the U.S This is available in both English and Tagalog, and it’ll be provided for you when your documents are prescreened [VIDEO PLAYING] NARARTOR: [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] CATHERINE: So when you come to the U.S., we take your rights very seriously

So it’s very important that you know and understand the rights listed in this pamphlet, not just for the employees, but for the employers as well If there’s something that you do not understand, please feel free to ask your interviewing officer So at this point, we’re now ready to start answering your questions JAMES: Our first question comes from Facebook and it concerns, “What if I apply for my sister to make her my babysitter? Does she have a chance of being approved?” CATHERINE: So for a B1 domestic visa, these ones are for professional employees So for your sister to come and visit you, she should apply for a tourist visa And our next question – we’ve had a number of questions about finding an employer to work for in the United States or going to work for someone you know in the United States – so James, is it possible to work as a domestic employee for somebody who is living in the United States? JAMES: Unfortunately, that’s not possible – not on a nonimmigrant visitor visa, but there are other visas that allow you to work while you’re in the U.S For immigrant visas, for workers or petition-based work visas, please visit our website at or the United States Immigration Service at The next question is from email and it says that “I have two employers and can I indicate more than one “employer on my email to the website?” CATHERINE: Absolutely That’s no problem Just make sure that when you email us, you have their full name, contact details, date of birth, nationality, information about spouses or any other relatives with whom you may be traveling And another question from email: “My employer will go “to the U.S., and she has invited me to go with her “She said she will pay for my travel and that it’s a gift from her Can I apply for a tourist visa?” JAMES: Well, considering that you’re gonna be going with your employer and you most likely will have duties while you’re in the U.S., the most appropriate visa class for you would be the B1 domestic visa Hot off the wire Our next question: It says that, “I accidentally chose a B1-B2 while filling out my “DS-160 application form Is that OK?” CATHERINE: Yeah, no problem You can still use the same DS-160 Please just remember that you choose the correct 7:10 A.M timeslot for the B1 domestic application, and please also ensure that you’ve sent all of the required information to us at least 10 days before your interview date JAMES: Now here’s an interesting one CATHERINE: OK, yes! JAMES: It says that, a secretary – this person’s a secretary or personal assistant of a famous fast food chain owner, and the question is, “Do I apply for the B1 domestic personal employee visa if this person accompanies the employer to the U.S.?” CATHERINE: So for this kind of situation we’d need to know a little bit more about your individual situation, but generally, if you’re being paid directly by an individual, we would recommend applying for the B1 domestic visa Of course, it does depend on your duties, and as I said, the payment, and would be more than happy to answer any questions you have if you’d like to email us with your specific situation JAMES: Yeah, so they should just email for some information about that CATHERINE: Yeah, their specific details OK, another question in from email “As a nanny here in the Philippines, “I’m not paid overtime “Is my employer required to pay overtime while I’m in the United States?” JAMES: [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] In fact, this is a very important fact While you’re working in the United States, you have certain rights and, again, those rights are found in this Wilberforce pamphlet and you’ll receive this at the window during your interview It’s very important, while you’re in the United States, you have the right to be paid one and a half times your hourly salary if you work more than 40 hours per week CATHERINE: OK, and a follow-up question to this one “Can an employer just bring their loyal nanny “for a vacation in the U.S.? The nanny’s been to Europe, “U.K., Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Australia and Guam “When we reapplied for a U.S. visa, she was denied.” JAMES: So the employer – you can bring your nanny

for a vacation Again, she would have to ensure that she meets the requirements for a U.S. visa We do have another question that’s coming in from Facebook “If the nanny has been denied, how long should she wait before she can reapply?” CATHERINE: So there is no time that she has to wait, but if she’s coming in on a tourist visa, she will need to show the Consular Officer that she overcomes the ties necessary for that kind of visa If she applies in a B1 domestic visa, if she comes along with her employer, and that’s why it may be easier for her to receive this kind of visa and she won’t need to demonstrate the social, financial, economic ties that we do need to see when we’re issuing a full 10-year multiple entry tourist visa JAMES: True Another question here from email: “My employer is unable to come with me on the visa interview.” We see that quite often “Is it fine for me to go alone on the interview?” CATHERINE: Yeah, absolutely So it’s not a requirement for your employer to come in on the interview day However, it is recommended that they do come, if they are present and they have the time, just in case the Consular Officer has any specific questions for the employer It may make your application process smoother JAMES: Yeah, and it does help us to get the answers that we need a little bit quicker at that time CATHERINE: Absolutely OK, another question here “I was requested by the Consular Officer to ask my employer to revise my employment contract How do I know if my contract is correct this time?” JAMES: Again, that’s a really, really question and it’s important to make sure that contract is correct That’s the purpose of this video In fact, we’ve provided a sample contract on our website And, again, at the beginning of this video we took you through some steps on how to make sure that that contract is followed properly You may wanna request that your employer follows the sample that we outlined here on our website CATHERINE: OK And as a last reminder, this visa only covers overseas employers, not employers living in the U.S JAMES: So again, that’s important to know If you are an employer – a U.S. citizen, for example – or a LPR, living in the U.S., you are not using this type of visa for your domestic employees or your staff CATHERINE: Only if you’re assigned there temporarily JAMES: Yes CATHERINE: So those are all the questions that we’ve received this afternoon Thanks to everyone who took the time to send in their questions, especially we have [INAUDIBLE], Enrico and [INAUDIBLE], Yolanda, Juliet and Sheila [APPLAUSE] JAMES: Thank you and we hope that this episode has been informative and helpful for all of those of you who will apply for a B1 domestic visa in the future For additional questions you can post them on our Visa Wall, on our Facebook page at ON.FB.ME/VisaWall CATHERINE: And, of course, don’t forget to visit our visa blog VISAtisfiedVoyager@blogs JAMES: You can watch the on-demand version of this episode on YouTube at CATHERINE: Find us on Facebook at Manila.USEmbassy JAMES: Or you can follow us on Twitter at CATHERINE: And you can add us to your circles on Google+ at JAMES: And you can also check us out on Instagram Search for U.S. Embassy Manila CATHERINE: Again, “maraming salamat” for joining us, and see you next month for the next episode of “The Visa Hour” JAMES AND CATHERINE: Bye [APPLAUSE]