Welcome to Direct U.S. Immigration’s channel where you get direct access to our most up to date immigration and global mobility space. My name is Miatrai Brown, and I’m going to talk about Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the B1/B2 Visitor Visa. You are not going to want to miss this one, stay tuned.
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Thanks for tuning in, my name is Miatrai Brown, and I am a U.S. immigration attorney based in Washington DC. I am also the Principal Attorney at Direct U.S. Immigration where we work with clients in all 50 states and around the world. Before we start, click the like and subscribe button to follow our immigration hub to get the latest immigration information that could be vital to your case. And also, be sure to stick around until the end to get a bonus tip on what you can do if your B1/B2 visa is denied.
B1/B2 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
B1 visa vs. B2 visa, which one is right for me?
B-1 visas are issued for short business trips, while B-2 visas are issued for tourism purposes, to include visiting family. For more information about what types of travel qualify for a B1/B2, visit travel.state.gov
Who is eligible for a B-1 visa or B-2 visa?
Suppose you’re looking to temporarily visit the U.S. for either holiday or work purposes, for example, attending a conference, touring a place, or visiting relatives. In that case, you can apply for a B-1/B-2 visa. You will need to prove that you have ties to your home country and plan to return after your visit to the U.S.
What are the legal requirements to obtain a B1/B2 visa?
In order to obtain a B1/B2 visa, you must convince the consular officer that you have a residence outside of the United States that you do not plan to abandon, that your stay in the United States will be temporary, and that your trip will be for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure as outlined in the visa regulations. Furthermore, as determined by the consular officer, you must not be subject to any other legal ineligibilities.
Who can accompany me to the visa interview?
In general, only visa applicants with scheduled appointments are allowed to enter the Consular Section. Parents or legal guardians are allowed to accompany minor children.
What documents should I bring to the interview?
Generally, the documents needed for a B1/B2 visitor visa interview are your current passport, your DS-160 interview appointment confirmation page, and proof of payment for the DS-160 fee. It is often helpful to bring evidence of your reason for travel and evidence of your strong ties to your home country.
How long can I stay in the U.S. on the B-1/B-2 visa?
When you enter the U.S., a customs officer will confirm your authorized period of stay. Most of the time, the allotted amount is up to six months. If you’d like to stay longer, you can apply to extend the visa while in the U.S.
How do I extend my stay on the B1 visa or B2 visa?
If you are nearing the end of your permitted stay in the U.S. and would like to stay longer, consider extending it. To do this, you must file Form I-539 to extend or change your status. If you do not, this will create negative future consequences when requesting another immigration benefit.
How can I renew my B1 visa or B2 visa?
If you want to renew your B-1/B-2 visa, you will need to go through the original process. Depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply, you may be able to complete your visa renewal without needing an interview.
Can I work in the U.S. on a B-1 / B-2 visa?
No. While you can enter the U.S. for business purposes such as attending a conference or a meeting, you cannot actively work while in the U.S. If you’re interested in working in the U.S. for a U.S. employer, you may be interested in other visa categories, such as the H-1B visa or an O visa.
Can I travel to the United States to give birth there?
You may not travel to the United States for the sole purpose of giving birth. However, during your visa interview and upon entry, if the officer sees that you are pregnant and timelines indicate that you may give birth inside the U.S., there will be higher scrutiny on whether you have the funds and/or medical insurance to cover any associated medical expenses.
Should I apply for a B-1/B-2 visa or an ESTA?
If you are a citizen of one of the 38 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program, then you can apply for an ESTA instead of a B1 or B2 visa.
Both allow you to enter the U.S. for the same reasons as tourism or business, but you can apply for the ESTA online. Entering the U.S. this way only permits you to stay for up to 90 days. However, if you would like to stay in the U.S. for travel or business purposes for longer, the B-1/B-2 visitor visa is the better option.
Do Canadian citizens need a B-1/B-2 visa?
Most Canadian citizens don’t need a visa for casual business or tourism travel and will automatically be admitted on a B-1 visa or B-2 visa category.
Is the B-1/B-2 visa an immigrant or non-immigrant visa?
The B-1/B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, but if your circumstances change, for example, you marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, there are several paths from a visitor visa to a green card.
Why did the consular officer refuse my visa without looking at my documents?
The consular officer examines your application and passport when you are called to the window or office for an interview. That information, along with the information obtained in a background check prior to the interview, typically gives the officer an idea of whether they will approve or deny the case. So be sure that you have not overstayed on a previous visa, do not have an extensive criminal history, and are not connected to those who do. Though not an automatic reason for denial, it will sway the officer’s opinion.
If an officer believes that a document (such as a letter from your employer or inviter) will be informative, the officer will request it. It is important to note that the documents presented are only one of many factors consular officers consider when determining an applicant’s eligibility for a non-immigrant visa.
I am planning to travel with relatives or business partners. Can we apply as a group?
Yes, it is recommended that you apply and interview at/around the same time with all members of your family or group. However, each individual will need to submit their own DS-160.
If my visa application is refused, can I apply again?
You may apply as many times as you wish. However, applying again does not mean that a different decision will be reached. It is only recommended to apply again if your personal circumstances or purpose of travel have changed significantly.
My visa application was refused. Is there an appeal process?
No, the decisions of consular officers are final and cannot be appealed. You may apply again if you think the decision was made in error. However, applying again does not guarantee a different decision.
I need to travel urgently; how soon can I get an appointment?
It is possible to request an expedited appointment. However, the embassy and consulates only approve such requests in extremely urgent circumstances. The best way to ensure you receive your visa is to plan ahead and allow plenty of time for the process.
If you are granted an expedited appointment, please be aware that visa processing can still take some time.
I live in the United States and want my relatives to visit. How can I help them get a visa?
The best way to help your relatives is to ensure that they are well-prepared for their interview and can accurately explain the details of their proposed travel. This is important because all visa adjudications are based on the information the applicant presents.
Can I send someone else to pick up my visa after the interview?
Yes, you can send a representative to collect your visa. Ask the consular officer at the end of the interview, and they will provide you with a form that gives a third-party permission to collect the visa. Your representative must bring their ID, that form, and your appointment confirmation page when they come to collect the visa.
What documents do I need to bring to pick up my visa?
You will need the confirmation page you brought to the interview. It is helpful to also bring an additional form of ID.
As I promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
If your B1/B2 visa application is denied, you first need to look into why it was denied. B1/B2 visas are often denied because the foreign national does not have sufficient ties to the home country to show that they intend to return. The State Department is concerned about people coming to the United States and never leaving. When you get a B2 visitor visa or a B1 for that matter, you get up to six months of authorized stay per visit in most cases. The State Department wants to be very sure that you have a reason to return to your home country at the end of those six months. So how can we show this?
One way we can show it is by demonstrating a job, family connections, assets in your home country, and money in your bank account to demonstrate that you are sufficiently tied to your home country. Generally speaking, if the visa has been denied for that reason, you may have a hard time re-establishing your home country ties or convincing them otherwise.
If you’re denied, you will have to reapply for a second chance to get the visa. I recommend waiting at least 6 months, preferably a year, before reapplying unless your circumstances have truly changed. Constantly reapplying without allowing a wait period will not be helpful.
The other thing you can do if your case has been denied is you can put together more evidence to show why you intend to come back. If you have a job, you can show that your job requires your physical presence. If you’re traveling for work, you can show them that you have a short itinerary and that you intend to return.
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 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. I’ll see you in the next video.
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