Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2). For travelers who are coming to the United States for tourism or business (B-1 or B-2 category visa) purposes for 90 days or less from qualified countries, they may be eligible to travel without a visa if they meet the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) requirements.
I. Brief Introduction about B-1 and B-2 Visa
|B-1 Visa||Everybody knows the U.S. is the best place to engage in business and the best way to temporarily visit the U.S. to deal with your business venture is under B-1 status. This merit-based visa allows access to a variety of business and economic ventures in the U.S. Individuals eligible for this visa range from board members and athletes to musicians, entertainers and servants of non-immigrants.|
|B-2 Visa||The B-2 visa is the ideal entry pass for tourists interested in seeing the many splendorous sites of the U.S. The B-2 Visa is issued for pleasure trips for a brief period of time, and may also be granted to spouses, children and parents of B-1 Visa holders. So what, officially, is the definition of the term “pleasure”? The State Department defines the term as legitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits to friends and/or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a social or service nature. The B-2 Visa can also be used by foreign students wishing to visit or tour U.S. schools prior to enrollment. You should make sure to inform the embassy or consulate of your intentions when you receive the B-1 Visa. You may then be able to change your status at a later time without leaving the U.S.|
II. Procedures for applying for a B-1 and B-2 Visa:
- Complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/, upload photos while completing the online Form I-160, and print the confirmation page for interview
- Pay the non-refundable visa application fee
- Make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
III. Documents Required for applying a B-1/B2 Visa:
- Valid Passport: Applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months beyond his/her period of stay in the U.S.
- Form DS-160 Confirmation Page
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo – Applicant will be required upload photo while completing the online Form DS-160; if uploading photo failed, Applicant will be required submit one printed photo to the U.S. embassy or consulate during the interview.
- Applicant’s photos or digital images must be:
- In color
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
- Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
- Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
- Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
- Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
- Eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos, except in rare circumstances when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons; e.g., the applicant has recently had ocular surgery and the eyeglasses are necessary to protect the applicant’s eyes. A medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner must be provided in these cases. If the eyeglasses are accepted for medical reasons:
- The frames of the eyeglasses must not cover the eye(s).
- There must not be glare on eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
- There must not be shadows or refraction from the eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
- If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
- Applicant’s photos or digital images must be:
- Documentary of evidence showing the purpose of the trip is to enter the United States temporarily for business or pleasure;
- Documentary of evidence showing that Applicant plans to remain for a specific, limited period;
- Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the U.S.;
- Documentary of evidence showing that Applicant has a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure his/her departure from the United States at the end of the visit.
IV. Recent trend/ updates
- DOS proposes ending the B-1 in lieu of H Policy, October 21, 2021 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/21/2020-21975/visas-temporary-visitors-for-business-or-pleasure
- Chinese citizens with 10-year B1, B2 or B1/B2 visas in Peoples’ Republic of China passports are required to update their biographical and other information from their visa application via a website every two years, or upon getting a new passport or B1, B2, or B1/B2 visa, whichever occurs first, at EVUS, beginning on November 29, 2016; https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/electronic-visa-update-system-evus/frequently-asked-questions
V. Additional Notes
- Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not require visas to enter the United States, for visit, tourism and temporary business travel purposes;
- Citizens and permanent residents of Mexico generally must have a nonimmigrant visa or Border Crossing Card (also known as a “Laser Visa”). For ease of travel, the B-1/B-2 and the Border Crossing Card have been combined into one document (DSP-150).