B Visa Overview

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The B visa category applies to citizens of foreign countries who wish to visit the United States for a temporary period.  There are two types of B visas: B-1 (for business) and B-2 (for pleasure or medical treatment).  A B-1 visa would be issued for an individual desiring to enter the U.S. to consult with business associates; attend a scientific, educational, professional or business convention or conference; settle an estate; or negotiate a contract.  A B-2 visa would be issued for an individual wishing to enter the U.S. for touring, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a social or service nature.

Foreign travelers who are citizens from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa for tourism or business for 90 days or less on the Visa Waiver Program.  (See Visa Waiver Program below.)

A. Duration of Stay

A business visitor (B-1) will be granted a period of entry sufficient to conduct his or her business.  Generally, these visits are approved for less than three months.  

A non-business visitor (B-2) will automatically be granted a six-month period of entry.  Only in unusual circumstances will a B-2 visa holder be granted a period of entry that is shorter or longer than six months.  

It should be noted that it is possible to obtain a period of admission of one year on initial entry to the U.S.  Additionally, extensions of up to six months may be granted.

B.    Application Process

In order to obtain a B visa, you need only apply with the U.S. consulate; an application to the Immigration Service is not required.

C.  Items for Travel

It is useful, in order to assure entry at the border, for the B-1 visa holder to carry a letter from his or her company, similar to the letter supporting the visa application that affirms:

 • The purpose of the trip.

• The limited duration of the trip.

• The visa holder's steady employment with the company and strong ties with his or her home country.

 The individual applying for the tourist visa should carry a letter of invitation, together with such other pieces of documentation as hotel reservations or evidence of other travel arrangements.

 The B-1 and B-2 visa holder should also bring with him or her:

• Copies of the documentation that accompanied the visa application.

•The return portion of his or her round-trip ticket and evidence of prepaid accommodations or confirmed hotel reservations.

• Sufficient funds to cover the period of stay requested by him or her.

D.    Special Conditions

It should be noted that an alien entering the U.S. with a B visa must not engage in gainful employment (labor for hire) in the U.S.  Additionally, the undertaking of an academic study program is not permitted (with a few limited exceptions).

E.   Basic Requirements for Obtaining B-1/B-2 Status

There are five basic requirements for issuance of a B visa, as specified by The State Department:

1.    The alien is entering the U.S. for a limited duration.

2.    The alien intends to depart the U.S. at the expiration of his or her stay.

3.    While in the U.S., the alien maintains a foreign residence which he or she has no intention of abandoning.

4.    The alien has adequate financial arrangements to travel to, sojourn in, and depart from the U.S.

5.    The alien will engage solely in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure.

F.   Additional Information

No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore, final travel plans or the purchase of non-refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if the traveler has a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport, do not remove the visa page from the expired passport. You may use it along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Visitors are not permitted to accept employment during their stay in the U.S.

G.  Family Members

There is no derivative status for B visas, which is why family members must qualify independently for a B visa.

H.  The Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. Travelers must be eligible to use the VWP and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. 

If you are eligible to travel on the VWP, but prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa.

Citizen or National of a VWP Designated Country 

You must be a citizen or national of VWP-participant country. The following 38 countries are Visa Waiver Program participants:

AFlag of Andorra AndorraFlag of Australia AustraliaFlag of Austria Austria

BFlag of Belgium BelgiumFlag of Brunei Brunei

CFlag of Chile ChileFlag of Czech Republic Czech Republic

DFlag of Denmark Denmark

EFlag of Estonia Estonia

FFlag of Finland FinlandFlag of  France France

GFlag of Germany GermanyFlag of Greece Greece

HFlag of Hungary Hungary

IFlag of Iceland IcelandFlag of Ireland IrelandFlag of Italy Italy

JFlag of Japan Japan

LFlag of Latvia LatviaFlag of Liechtenstein LiechtensteinFlag of Lithuania LithuaniaFlag of Lithuania Luxembourg

MFlag of Malta MaltaFlag of Monaco Monaco

NFlag of Netherlands NetherlandsFlag of New Zealand New ZealandFlag of Norway Norway

PFlag of Portugal Portugal

SFlag of San Marino San MarinoFlag of Singapore SingaporeFlag of Slovakia SlovakiaFlag of Slovenia SloveniaFlag of South Korea South KoreaFlag of Spain SpainFlag of Sweden SwedenFlag of Switzerland Switzerland

TTaiwan Taiwan

UFlag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 

For more information on VWP please visit this link: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html

Also visit Visa Waiver Program Update 2016  from CBP.

Nonimmigrant Visas: 



I had too apply for a visa as i have a minor MORAL TURPITUDE conviction.

I have previously been applied for and granted a 1 year visa by US Embassy London.

I have just reapplied and wanted to know if the process the second time is quicker. Their have been no changes to my personal circumstances, other than I have moved up to a better employed position (incidentally an American company).

Thank you in advance.


I am assuming you are talking about a 212(d)(3) waiver. Each consulate has its own processing time. But I do think the second time should be a little faster.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Hi sir,
I want to invite my younger married sister and her husband along with their 3 yr old child to US . I want to know what are their probablity of getting a tourist visa or visitor visa.
My brother in law is working in bank and my sister is teacher .
They are just coming to visit us and to see around some places .

There is a possibility, of course, but it is impossible to predict the outcome.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.


I am an Indian Citizen , currently staying in Canada (Toronto) as a visitor . I have applied for Canadian PR, which I am yet to get. I want to apply for US Visitor Visa to visit my cousin brother in US, Can I apply it from Canada ?What is the chances of getting it ? And in case if my visa application gets rejected will I get the Visa Fee?

Kindly reply


It is unusual, but not impossible, to get a tourist visa from a third country. You dont get your fees back. Once you get your Canadian PR, you can much more easily apply for a US tourist visa.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Hello Sir ,
Can I still be eligible for tourist visa after asylum was rejected in 2001? I want to travel to USA with my wife and kids but I have a doubt about my previous status.

Danny, usually, tourist visa is given only when there is no doubt that the person will return back. Asylum application creates that doubt.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

I am visiting US as visitor B2. I would like to change my visa status, become a resident of USA, receive working and studing rights. What steps should I take? Or what are the ways for my goal?

Seroxy, this is not an easy question to answer. There are just too many variables. You should speak with an immigration to lawyer to see what options are available to you, for your specific situation.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.