Possible Reduction in B-1 Validity for Indian Citizens

Minister Counselor James W. Herman, of the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, India, advised in late June 2012 of ongoing consideration of a potential drastic reduction in the duration of B-1 (business visitor) visas issued to Indian citizens seeking to visit the United States. A recent change in India’s practices regarding the duration of business visitor visas issued to U.S. citizens traveling to India may cause a similar change for Indian business visitors who wish to travel to the United States. The potential shift and the reasons behind the United States’ policy reaction to India’s changed practices are explained here for the benefit of our readers.

B-1 Visa Duration to Match India’s Visa for U.S. Citizens

As regular MurthyDotCom readers know, the U.S. typically issues ten-year, multiple entry B-1 visas to Indian nationals. This matter is under review, however, as it appears that the Indian government has made changes in its business visitor visa policies with respect to U.S. citizens. India is now greatly limiting the duration of the business visitor visas being issued to U.S. citizens, as compared to its practice in the past. Reports indicate a trend toward issuance of business visitor visas with only a six-month duration. Since U.S. visas are issued based on agreements between the two countries, unless this matter can be resolved, the U.S. may soon begin treating Indian business people seeking to enter the United States in a similar manner. Discussions are underway between U.S. and Indian officials to resolve the matter.

DOS Reciprocity Considerations Between Countries

U.S. Department of State (DOS) policies for visa duration are based on reciprocity between the United States and other countries. The DOS uses visa reciprocity to match, as closely as possible, the visa privileges, fees, restrictions, and duration for each host country. The United States seeks to match visa policies regarding the duration of visa validity, the number of entries allowed under each visa, and the visa application fees charged.

The goal of reciprocity is to encourage uniformity and to establish visa duration timeframes that will advance each countries’ interests mutually in commerce, industry, and other, shared endeavors. DOS monitors how each host country issues its visas to U.S. citizens and to report changes, such as what has occurred in India.

The DOS’s reciprocity charts for various countries can be found online. The specific reciprocity table for the United States and India is also available online.


There is a great deal of business travel between the United States and India. Many companies have operations in both countries. This includes major companies, as well as small to mid-sized organizations. There is substantial trade in goods and services between the two countries, and ongoing efforts to facilitate further growth in this area for their mutual benefit. It is our hope that the dialogue between India and the United States leads to a resolution of this matter and business-friendly policies that will help both countries in the long run. We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue to monitor changes to visa procedures, to provide our readers with helpful updates.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.