A B visa, which is also called a “visitor visa,” is a nonimmigrant visa that lets people come to the United States for the amount of time listed. There are two types of B visas: the B1 visa and the B2 visa. The B1/B2 visa holder can’t stay in the U.S. for as long as the visa is valid, but he or she can go through immigration screening to enter the country during that time. Both are valid for 6 months and can be extended.

How do B1 and B2 visas differ?

B1 Visa

A B1 visa allows business travelers to do legitimate business with a US company and enter the United States.

Who is eligible for a B1 visa?

A B1 visa can be requested by anyone who wants to do professional or business work in the United States. Among the many business activities are, but are not limited to:

  • Transiting through the United States.
  • Contract negotiations and signing.
  • Give business consultations.
  • Settling an estate
  • Attending business conferences on specific dates or traveling for professional or educational conventions.
  • Consulting with business associates.
  • Organize independent research.

Criteria for Eligibility (B1)

You must show that the purpose of your trip is to conduct legitimate business in the United States and that your stay will be limited in time. Visa applicants must also demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover all of their expenses during their stay in the country.

Before being considered, you must demonstrate that you have binding ties and a residence outside the United States that you do not intend to abandon. This demonstrates that you intend to return to another country after your visit. Finally, you must be eligible to enter the United States.

B2 Visa

The B2 visa allows holders with the purpose of visiting family or friends, for pleasure or tourism, to enter the United States temporarily.

Criteria for B2 Visa Eligibility

A B2 visa applicant must show that they intend to return to their home country at the end of their stay. Failure to demonstrate that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States may result in denial of entry during immigration screening. Furthermore, if you intend to visit the United States frequently, you may be asked to state the reason for your visit each time you enter the country during the immigration screening.

Have proof that you have sufficient financial resources to fund your trip, including all the living, accommodation, medical-related expenses, and travel expenses. You must also demonstrate that you are not visiting the United States for business purposes in order to be eligible.

Activities permitted under a B2 visa include, but are not limited to:

  • Participating in exchange programs or meetings organized by friendly organizations, or social organizations in the United States.
  • Participating in exhibitions, trade shows, and other events in the United States.
  • Undergoing medical treatment, surgery, or examinations.
  • Staying in the homes of relatives, family, or friends living in the United States.
  • Tourism and related activities in the US.

The B1/B2 visa has some restrictions.

With a B1 or B2 visa, you can visit and travel to the United States. However, there are activities one is limited to doing while holding the B1B2 visa, including

  • Seek permanent residence in the United States.
  • Enter as a crew member on a ship or aircraft.
  • Seek employment.
  • Work in journalism or the press.
  • Taking part in a performance and getting paid for it.
  • Become a full-time or part-time student.

The Process of Obtaining a B1/B2 Visa

The application process for B1/B2 visas is much like that for other nonimmigrant visas in the United States. You have to go through the Consulate or US Embassy in your home country to complete the process. Steps to apply for the B1/B2 visas include:

  • Step 1: Fill out Form DS-160 online. Ensure you print the confirmation page for your visa interview.
  • Step 2: Upload your digital photo
  • Step 3: Pay the visa application fee. On this page, you will see a list of visas and application fees in your country’s currency. Choose your preferred payment method and pay.
  • Step 4: Make an appointment with the consulate or embassy of the United States in your home country. Make sure to bring the DS-160 confirmation page and all receipts for fees paid for the interview.

Note that nationals from certain countries can travel to the United States without visas through the visa waiver program.

For more information about the B1 visa and B2 visa, contact Elliott Immigration Law at (404) 890-0372 to schedule an appointment.

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