Non Immigrant Visa – B1 Business Travel Visa / B2 Tourist Visa
The B1 or B2 visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign citizens desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B1, Business Travel Visa) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B2, Tourist Visa). Persons planning to travel to the US for a different purpose such as students, temporary workers, crewmen, journalists, etc., must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category. Travelers from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the US without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program (See below for a list of visa waiver countries).
Applicants for B1 business or B2 tourist visa need proof that they qualify for such visa. The presumption is that every B1 or B2 visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for B1 or B2 visas must convince the consular officer the temporary nature of their trip to the US by demonstrating that:
- The purpose of their trip is to enter the US for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;
- That they plan to remain in the US for a specific, temporary period of time; and,
- That they have a residence outside the US, as well as, other strong economic, financial, and family ties to their home country, which will insure their return at the end of their US visit.
Applicants must present evidence, which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence needs to take since applicants’ circumstances vary greatly.
Persons traveling to the US on business can present a letter from the US company indicating the purpose of the trip, the applicant’s intended length of stay and the company’s intent to pay travel expenses.
Persons traveling to the US as tourist may use letters from relatives or friends in the US whom the applicant plans to visit, or present documents showing participation in a planned tour.
Persons traveling to the US for medical treatment should have a statement from a doctor or institution concerning proposed medical treatment.
Those applicants who do not have sufficient funds to support themselves while in the US must present convincing evidence that an interested person will provide financial support. Visitors are not permitted to accept employment during their stay in the US. Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may provide other evidence substantiating the trip’s purpose and specifying the nature of binding obligations, such as family ties or employment, which would compel their return to their country.
Applicants should be aware that obtaining a visa at a US embassy does not guarantee entry into the United States. At the Port of Entry (POE), an Immigration Inspector will authorize or deny the traveler’s admission to the US. The typical length of stay on a B1 or B2 visa is six months. The inspector has authority to deny admission if he is not convinced by the evidence presented by the traveler.
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Travelers coming to the US for tourism or business for ninety days or less from qualified countries may be eligible to visit the US without a visa. Currently, twenty eight countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, including Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Visitors entering on the Visa Waiver Program cannot work or study while in the US and cannot stay longer than ninety days or change their status to another category, unless they get married to a United States citizen.
Contact the Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz to discuss how we can help you.