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

Nationals of several countries do not need to obtain B visas for business or tourist visits to the United States for a period of up to 90 days, as long as certain conditions are met. Here is the list of countries whose nationals are eligible for the Visa Waiver program, according to the Department of State website:

 Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:

Andorra

Hungary

New Zealand

Australia

Iceland

Norway

Austria

Ireland

Portugal

Belgium

Italy

San Marino

Brunei

Japan

Singapore

Czech Republic

Latvia

Slovakia

Denmark

Liechtenstein

Slovenia

Estonia

Lithuania

South Korea

Finland

Luxembourg

Spain

France

Malta

Sweden

Germany

Monaco

Switzerland

Greece

the Netherlands

United Kingdom

For more information, click here.

Nonimmigrant Visas: 

Comments

I am planing to start an IT company in USA which is registered in India. Currently I am planing to travel on B1/B2 visa for my company set up.
Can I transfer my visa status from B1/B2 to L1 if required within USA? What are the possible chances of success?
Kindly you please suggest me the best way.

Hello,

I'm an Indian Citizen and a recent graduate working on my OPT since July 2013. My student Visa expired this May 2014. and my OPT expired this July 2014. I have applied for OPT extension in around June this year and I'm working on OPT receipt right now and will get the EAD card for the OPT Extension soon. My company had applied for H1B visa this year but I didnt get selected. They will re-apply next year.

Now, my parents already got the travel visa for the US last year, They want to come visit me along with my sister this September 2014. To apply for my sister's travel visa, my dad asked me to send an invitation letter for my sister. So, they asked me to submit an invitation letter, residential proof of inviting person, occupational proof od the inviting person, last 03 months bank statement and 03 years IT return from inviting person and passport and visa pages copy.

1. So my first question is that do I need to ask my employer to make the invitation letter for my sister on the company letterhead? or a letter written by me on a simple MS Word would suffice?

2. My dad already booked their flights. She's going to be living with me. so on the invitation letter in order for me to show that i'm sponsoring her housing and board expenses, They have asked me to submit bank statements for the last three months. Do i need to show that I have sufficient funds in my bank so around $10,000? I don't have a lot saved up since I was trying to pay off my car loan. I have about 2000$ saved up. So, should I maybe ask my Dad to show self sponsorship or will $2000 suffice? In the letter, do I mention that I'm responsible for my sister's room and board expenses?

3. Can I invite her at all since I don't have the H1B Visa yet. I have read some posts online saying that I can do it even though I'm on OPT and I can show my EAD card and the OPT receipt. But I'm not too sure.

4. They also need my IT returns for the last three years. I have been working at my current company only for a year, and I have done two internships in two different companies. So, the IT returns for the last three years are going to be from three different companies. Is that okay?

5. They also asked me to submit a copy of my Visa and the student visa is expired at the moment. So, will the OPT receipt be good enough?

6. Also, to show my residential proof, my lease copy of the rented apartment should be enough?

Please let me know as soon as possible.

Thanks.

1. In order to apply for a visitor's or tourist visa, there is NO requirement that an invitation letter must be submitted. the consulate, however, can make polices for their local use. that require such documents.
2. Same for 2. There is no requirement that the inviter must show proof of funds, except where the inviter submits Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, also not required, unless consulate makes a local policy to the contrary.
3. 4. 5. 6. See 1 and 2.

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

My mother visited us for 4 1/2 months this year and she would like to visit again in December and stay a few months over in 2015. Is she likely to encounter problems when entering US? In other words, if she had a visit this year is she allowed another visit if the 6 months for the first visit did not pass? And is the clock for the 6 months restarted after Jan 1, 2015? Thanks a lot for helping with this.

This is very difficult to predict. Usually, CBP does not like people coming to the USA too frequently and staying here too long.

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

Hello

I am a United States Citizen but I have relatives oversea in the Dominican Republic. One of those relatives is my beloved fraternal Grand Mother; and I love to be able to invite her to visit me for the Christmas Holidays. I read that in order for her to obatined a tourist Visa or B-2, she needs to applied herself with the US consulate in Dominican Republic. However, my Grand mother is old and iliteraly when it comes to the application process and paperwork gathering. My question is could I filed for the B-2 visa on her behalf from the United States? and provided all the evidence and supporting affidavit.

Thank you for your help

My wife and I are Australian citizens who visit the US 2 or 3 times a year under the Visa Waiver Program. We have three adult children there with 6 grand children under the age of six. Two of our children are married to American born citizens and our third has green card entitlement. We would like to set up a base in the US that enables stays of more than 90 days, but don't want to apply for immigration as we have business interests and a home in Australia. Is the B1/B2 Visa suitable for us and how can we get it for the "indefinite" period rather than six months only. Does the B1/B2 enable us to come and go from the US for the term of its duration or is it for a single entry?

Rick, you should go to the US consulate and apply for a B visa. Let them know this is because you would like the option to stay longer than 90 days. The visa and stay are separate issues. I have a bunch of videos and FAQ's on that. If unclear, log in to the next free community conference call.

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