Nonimmigrants - Commercial Truck Drivers
Alien travelers wishing to enter the United States on a temporary basis must obtain visas, which entitle them to present themselves at an U.S. port-of-entry and to request admission to the country. If they are transporting cargo in the stream of international commerce, commercial truck drivers may be eligible for a travel visa for a business traveler, known as a B-1 visa.
Am I Eligible, as a Commercial Truck Driver, for a B-1 Visa?
Commercial truck drivers must meet the general requirements for a B-1 visa, and they and their cargo must meet specific requirements relative to commercial truck drivers.
General B-1 Requirements
Applicants for B-1 visas must show that the nature of their stay is temporary. This typically requires applicants to show that they have a foreign residence outside the U.S. and that they have binding ties outside the U.S. that will ensure their return. Additionally, applicants must show either that they are admissible to the U.S. or that any grounds of inadmissibility have been waived, such as certain health problems, criminal histories and documentation violations. Finally, applicants must provide evidence that the purpose of their trip is business.
A driver has the burden of showing that he or she is eligible for a B-1 travel visa. In addition to making the general showings above, a driver must also show the following: (1) the goods he or she is hauling are entering or leaving the U.S. and will be returned to the stream of international commerce; (2) the driver will not pick up and drop off any cargo wholly within the U.S.; (3) the sole purpose of the driver's trip is an international delivery of goods; and (4) the driver will not engage in any local labor activity.
A driver may depart with a different trailer than the one with which he or she entered the U.S. Also, a driver may deadhead a trailer from one U.S. location to another as long as the deadhead trailer is either the one the driver brought into the U.S. or the one with which the driver will be departing. Finally, the driver may perform functions, such as loading or unloading cargo, that are necessary incidents of trade, without violating the terms of his or her stay.
What Documentation Must I Possess to be Admitted to the U.S.?
The required documentation depends on the citizenship of the driver. Canadian citizens must present either a passport or a visa, and the officer inspecting drivers at the border may require additional documentation, such as birth certificates or photo identification. Mexican citizens must present both valid passports and non-immigrant visas. U.S. consulates in Mexico issue both combination visa and Mexican border crossing cards and laser visas, either of which satisfies the requirements for Mexican citizens.
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