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: 

Comments

Hi
This is my second visit to the USA and I am on a B1 B2 visa. I am from India. I am currently visiting my boyfriend who is on a J1 visa. we decided to get married now. my question is can I marry him here in Oklahoma state and change my visa status? if yes, what is the process? I entered the country on June 15th, I can stay in the USA till December 14th. Also, I was married before and now I am divorced, so I have my X spouse name mentioned on my Passport . does that need to change for me marrying and stamping in the USA? thanks in advance.

Any change of status in your circumstances should only be done after a detailed consultation with a competent lawyer.

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  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.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

If i travel to the United state with a B1-B2 family visa and didn't return with my wife and kid will it affect me when visiting again? because i had a mi-understanding with my wife and she left me, i need to attend to my business back in Nigeria and i'm thinking of visiting again before my visa expire, will the customs ask me about them even if i had a valid divorce letter with me? please enlighten me.

Any violation of visa requirements can lead at a minimum to denial of for the results and entries. There can be more serious consequences as well.

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  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.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

Hello,
I recently travelled to USA on B2 visa. In the past i had travelled in Apr 2015 and left 5 months later October 2015.
When i entered US this time, the passport does not have the length of stay stamped on the passport.

When i go to CBP I94 website, it shows my date of arrival as 8/9/2017 which is correct, however the "most recent I94" still shows my I-94 from 2015. May i assume that the duration of permitted stay for the current trip is 6 months as the I-94 website does not show the newest entry and only shows me my I-94 from 2015
Thanks.

Dear Rajiv,

I am a citizen of Czech Republic. I was granted these visas in October 2016. Now in 2017 upon multiple entries to United States, not overstaying any of them, I was contacted by US consulate in Prague that based on new the information that came up the visas are being revoked. I contacted them and they couldn't tell me the reason why. Who do I contact in this case? Because I am out of the country(Czech Republic) and won't be back for a while. I heard that this revocation can be taken back upon providing information needed for the immigration in US.

Thank you for your answer.