As you know, B1/B2 visa is a type of non-immigrant visa for temporary visitors to the United States. It allows individuals to enter the U.S. for business (B1) or tourism and other non-business purposes (B2). The B1/B2 visa is often referred to as a “tourist visa” or “visitor visa.” Visitor visas allow for stays in the United States of up to 6 months.
Here’s a brief overview of each category:
B1 Visa (Business Visitor): The B1 visa is for individuals traveling to the U.S. for business purposes. This may include attending business meetings, conferences, negotiating contracts, or engaging in other professional activities. It can also include activities such as completing business transactions, consulting with associates, conducting research, attending conferences, and/or negotiating contracts. It is important to note that employment is not permitted under the B1 visa. The stay is typically temporary, and the individual is expected to return to their home country after the business activities are completed.
B2 Visa (Tourist Visitor): The B2 visa is designed for individuals traveling to the U.S. for tourism, pleasure, or visiting friends and relatives. Activities covered under the B2 visa may include tourism, vacation, medical treatment, and social visits. It can also include participating in amateur competitions, and/or enrolling in the course of study, not for credit. Like the B1 visa, the B2 visa is temporary, and individuals are expected to return to their home country after the authorized period of stay.
Our office can help you determine which visa is the most appropriate for you.
What are the benefits of a visitor visa?
Visitor visas have many benefits, which include:
• You do not need a pre-approved visa petition from the USCIS;
• You can apply at your nearest consulate;
• You do not need a sponsor;
• One application can permit multiple visits to the US for an extensive period of time (up to 10 years, but keep in mind that each visit may only be for 6 months at a time unless an extension is requested); and
• You can receive multiple visitor visas over your lifetime.
Who needs a visitor visa?
If you are not a permanent resident or do not have a valid visa, you may need to apply for a B visa. Keep in mind that some individuals are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program is managed through ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
You are not eligible for a B visa if you are coming to the US to: study, work, be part of a paid performance, enter as a crew member on a ship or aircraft, for work in foreign press or other information media, or intending to be a permanent resident of the United States.
Who is eligible for a visitor visa?
To be granted a visitor visa, you must show evidence that:
1.You have a valid reason to visit the United States.
To obtain a visitor visa, you must support your reasons for coming to the United States. Again, some of the acceptable reasons for the B1 include: completing business transactions, consulting with associates, conducting research, attending conferences, negotiating contracts, and observing American business practices.
For the B2 visa, some acceptable reasons include: visiting tourist attractions in the United States, visiting friends or family, receiving medical treatment, participating in social events, participating in unpaid amateur competitions, or enrolling in a course of study, not for credit.
2.You have sufficient funds to cover the duration of your stay.
In order to be approved for a B visa, you must demonstrate that you have the financial ability to cover your entire stay. If you cannot pay independently, you can provide evidence that your employer, relative, or friend will support you.
3.You will return to your home country following the visa’s expiration.
In order to be approved for a B visa, you must prove that you have a residence abroad that you intend to return to. You must show that you will return following the completion of the activity for which you are seeking a visitor visa. Be prepared to explain your itinerary and discuss your plans to return home in your consular interview.
Visitor Visa Process
Getting a visitor visa is a multistep process. The process may vary depending on the individual US embassy or consulate. An immigration lawyer can help you through this process.
Here is a general outline of the B1/B2 process:
• Submit Form DS-160 on the Department of State website
• Upload a passport style photo
• Pay the visa fee
• Schedule your US tourist visa interview appointment
• Prepare evidence of your intentions
• Attend the visa interview
• Arrive in the United States
Once upon a time, I had a client who had a flawless record when it came to entering and exiting the United States on a visitor visa. He had traveled back and forth to the United States from Ethiopia without any issues until one fateful day.
On this particular trip, he found himself scheduled on a flight with his friend’s parents, who were also traveling to the U.S., but with different plans in mind. They were relocating permanently, while my client was on his usual temporary visit, as his home and business were based in Ethiopia.
As fate would have it, amidst the chaos of the airport, their luggage got mixed up. Unbeknownst to my client, his bag was mistagged with his friend’s parents’ belongings. They all disembarked the plane and proceeded to collect their bags, only to discover the mix-up.
Realizing the error, my client made the decision to hold onto the bag that bore his name, as he believed he was supposed to carry that bag that had his name on it. Unfortunately, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) singled him out for inspection.
Prior to the inspection, my client had confirmed that the bag was not his and was in fact mistagged and his friend’s parents’ luggage. During the inspection, CBP officers found documents such as a birth certificate and a green card that did not belong to my client. This led them to cancel his visitor visa and deny him entry into the U.S. Shocked and devastated, my client’s attempts to obtain another visa were met with continuous rejections.
In this situation, there was a clear case of misunderstanding that originated from the mishap at the airport and persisted through the scrutiny of CBP despite my client being honest and upfront with the CBP officer. My client’s intention was always to visit the U.S. temporarily, just as he had done mulitple times before, but CBP remained unconvinced.
In an attempt to rectify the situation, we provided a detailed letter to the embassy, explaining the entire incident and emphasizing my client’s genuine intention to abide by visa regulations and avoid any complications. We highlighted his strong ties to Ethiopia, his desire to remain a permanent resident and citizen of his home country, and his temporary need for travel. We also included evidence of his strong ties to Ethiopia to include is large business that he could only leave for 2 weeks at a time, his home, his religious ties, and his community ties.
This incident serves as a reminder of the discretionary nature of obtaining and retaining a visitor visa. It is crucial to apply for the correct category and ensure strict compliance with visa regulations. Even when telling the truth, misunderstandings can occur, and the consequences can be severe.
Thankfully, after presenting substantial evidence and demonstrating my client’s innocence, the government acknowledged the mistake. They realized that he had been truthful throughout the ordeal. This experience underscored the importance of having sufficient evidence to support one’s case.
In the end, my client was able to obtain a new visitor visa and resume his travels. However, this incident serves as a valuable lesson, reminding us all to handle visa matters with utmost care and diligence.
As promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
Here are some tips to increase the likelihood of a successful B1/B2 visa application:
Clearly Define the Purpose of Your Visit:
Clearly articulate the specific reasons for your visit, whether it’s for business meetings, tourism, or family visits. Be concise and focused in your application and verbal response during the interview.
Strong Ties to Your Home Country:
Demonstrate strong ties to your home country to assure the consulate that you have strong reasons to return. This may include employment, family connections, property ownership, or other significant commitments.
Show evidence of your financial stability to cover your travel expenses. This can include bank statements, pay stubs, or financial sponsorship letters.
Last but not least, be sure to check the caption below this video. We’ve got questionnaires for different types of visas so that we can help you determine which visa is most appropriate for you. And if you’re traveling soon, we also have a list of some of my travel favorites.
I hope you found this video helpful. Subscribe if this content or information helps you in any way, comment below if you want me to talk about something in specific, and share this resource widely because you never know who needs answers to these questions. Additionally, if you have any specific questions about this video as they pertain to your unique circumstances, please schedule a consultation with us at the link below, and I’ll see you in the next video.