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B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa, Explained

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What Is a B1/B2 Visa?

The B1 visa and B2 visa are temporary, non-immigrant, multiple-entry visas that allow the holder to travel to the United States for either business or tourism purposes. Though B Visas cover many reasons for travel to the U.S., there are different nonimmigrant visas (travel) visas that allow people to temporarily visit the U.S., such as K1 (fiancé) visas, F1 (student) visas, H1B visas, and more.

What’s the difference between a B1 visa and a B2 visa?

The B1 visa is for people going to the US for work that is related to business. This might involve attending a conference or meeting, handling legal matters, or taking examinations for licensure. The B1 visa only allows for business-related activities, and not for full-time work in the US. However, starting in March 2023, people with B1 or B2 visas can apply for jobs in the US and attend interviews.

The B2 visa is for people who are going to the US for tourism, visiting family or friends, or getting medical treatment. It also covers participation in social events or competitions, like music or sports, but only if it’s not a paid activity. In most cases, people are issued both the B1 and B2 visas together, so they can travel for both work and pleasure.

How Long Does It Take To Get a B1/B2 Visa?

You usually have to wait two months for an appointment to get a B1/B2 visa. You can find out the wait time for your embassy or consulate by clicking the link. If you are applying for a visa in a country that is not your home country, you might have to wait even longer.

The B1/B2 visa lets you enter the U.S. multiple times but only for short visits related to work, travel, or medical care, not for living there long-term. If border officers believe you’re trying to live in the U.S. by frequently traveling back and forth, or if they think you don’t have strong ties to your home country, they might deny you entry or make it harder for you to get a visa in the future.

How Many Times Can You Visit the U.S. With a B1 B2 Visa?

If you have a B1/B2 visa, you can visit the US more than once, but how many times you can visit depends on why you’re going and what CBP officers think. This visa is only for temporary visits for work, fun, or medical reasons, not for moving to the US. If you use the visa to visit the US often or for a long time, you might not be let in next time or have visa problems. Make sure you follow the rules of your visa and get help from someone who knows immigration if you need it.

B-1/B-2 Visa Cost

Currently, people who want to get a B visa have to pay $185 for the government filing fee. But this does not include other costs like getting documents, evidence, and passport photos. On June 17, the cost of many types of visas will be going up. This means that if you want to get a travel, student, or exchange visa, you will have to pay 15% more than what you would pay now. You can learn more about the updated costs for each type of visa in this article. It’s important to note that beginning June 17, 2023, the application fees for B1/B2 visas will increase from $160 to $185.

Can a U.S. Sponsor Pay for a B1B2?

A person from the US can help pay for someone else’s visa application. They must show they have enough money to cover the visitor’s expenses while they are in the US, by submitting a form called the I-134 “Declaration of Support”. The sponsor can send this form at any time, but it’s best to do it early in the visa process. The sponsor must provide personal information, proof of citizenship or green card status, details about the visitor, job and financial information, information about dependents and spouses, and a signed page promising to support the beneficiary. They must also submit copies of financial documents, such as bank statements and tax returns. All documents need to be in English or come with a full English translation. USCIS will review the sponsor’s information along with the application. They may ask for more evidence or explanation if they need it.

After you submit the I-134 form, USCIS will check if you have enough money to support the person applying. If they approve it, the person can get a B1/B2 visa.

Here are some important things to remember if you want to sponsor someone to come to the United States: You need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You also need to show proof of your income, money, and debts. You must be willing to pay for the applicant’s expenses during their stay in the U.S. And if necessary, you have to be able to come to the U.S. to meet with them.

If you’re confused or need help with the visa application process, consider consulting an immigration expert. Immigration UA has assisted thousands of people with this process and can assist you in creating a travel visa plan tailored to your specific needs. Start today! Access Immigration UA at https://immigrationua.com/.

B Visa Requirements

A visitor visa called B1/B2 can be used for many types of trips to the U.S., like business and tourism. To get this visa, you have to show proof that you will only stay in the U.S. for a short time, that you plan to go back to your home country after your visit, and that you have a place to live outside the U.S.

Some of the reasons why people might use a B1 visa include: meetings with business associates, attending conferences or seminars, settling an estate, contract negotiations, and professional examination and licensing. For a B2 visa, people may travel for tourism, to visit family or friends, for medical treatment, social events, participation in events or contests, and short courses of study.

You cannot use this visa to study, work long-term for a U.S. company, perform for pay, work as foreign press, or become a permanent resident in the United States. Immigration UA can help with your immigration and U.S. travel plans.

NOTE
The Visa Waiver Program allows nationals from certain countries to travel to the United States without a visa for business, tourism, or while in transit for up to 90 days. The program currently covers 38 countries and territories, including most countries in the European Union.

Canadians don’t usually need a visa to travel to the US for tourism, but they might need one if they’re going to study, work, or move there. Different rules apply depending on what they’re going to do – work, study, invest, or immigrate. The amount of time they can stay in the US may be between 6 months and 1 year, depending on their situation.

Can You Change the Status From B1/B2?

The B1 and B2 visas are temporary visas and do not give you permanent residency in the United States. However, you can change your status from a B1 or B2 visa to another visa type while you are in the U.S. by submitting a change of status application to USCIS, as long as you meet certain requirements. Here are important things to consider:

1. Your reason for wanting to stay in the U.S. should match the new visa type you are applying for.
2. Apply before your current visa status expires. USCIS recommends at least 45 days.
3. Not everyone can change their visa status, especially if they violate the terms of their visa status.
4. Even if you apply and meet all the conditions, the decision is up to USCIS.

If you have just married a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for a marriage green card to stay in the U.S. and live with your spouse. Required documents for a B1/B2 visa include a valid passport, recent digital photo, previous U.S. trips documentation, proof of funds, and proof of ties to your home country.

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B1/B2 Visa Application Process

You need to apply for a B visa through the US embassy in your country. Before approval, you will have to attend an interview in person. You may also go to an embassy in another country, but it could take longer to get an appointment. To obtain a B visa, you will have to complete and file Form DS-160, submit a photo, and attend the interview. During the process, the embassy will take your fingerprints and may ask for more information. Immigration UA offers an online Travel Visa Service, which includes online filing, interview coaching, scheduling, and assistance if your visa is refused.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

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, such as vacations or visiting family.

Who is eligible for a B-1 visa or B-2 visa?

If 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, then you can apply for a B-1/B-2 visa. You may need to show proof that you have ties to your home country and that you plan on leaving the U.S.

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 authorize you to stay in the country for up to six months. If you’d like to stay for longer, you may be able to apply to extend this for up to one year.

How do I extend my stay on the B1 visa or B2 visa?

If your permitted stay in the U.S. is about to expire, you might consider applying for an extension, especially because staying longer than allowed could have negative consequences in the future.

If you’re on a B-1 visa or a B-2 visa, you can request to extend your stay up to one year. To do this, you will need to file Form I-539 to extend or change your status. It’s recommended that you apply to extend your status at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, so make sure you’re thinking ahead.

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, you cannot work or be employed by a U.S. employer. 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.

How can I renew my B1 visa or B2 visa?

If you would like to renew your B-1/B-2 visa, then 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 the need for an interview.

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 have the option of applying for an ESTA instead of a B1 visa 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 may be an option for you.

Do Canadian citizens need a B-1/B-2 visa?

For casual business or tourism trips, most Canadian citizens don’t require a visa and are automatically admitted under the B-1 or B-2 visa categories.

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. Learn more to see how Immigration UA  can help you avoid major headaches and make the process easier.

Do I need a certain amount of money in my bank account to be approved for a travel visa?

It’s a common myth that you need to show a specific amount of money in your bank account to secure a travel visa. While financial stability is a factor in evaluating B-1/B-2 visa applications, and consular officers may assess whether you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay in the U.S., there is no set minimum amount required. Financial evaluations vary from one applicant to another, based on various factors. For more myths about the travel visa process, check out the blog post on Immigration UA.