The B category of visas are reserved for temporary visitors to the U.S. for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). This is the most used visa category for nonimmigrants entering the U.S. It is also common to use this category for visitors who do not clearly qualify for any other category.
B-1: Temporary Business Visitors
You can enter the U.S. with a B-1 visa to participate in business activities. Typical business activities covered by the B-1 visa include:
This category does not allow active employment. If you are coming to the U.S. to work, to be employed, or to be paid by a U.S. based company as a skilled or unskilled worker, even if only temporarily, you will need another type of visa.
Eligibility for B-1:
To show eligibility for a B-1 Visa, the applicant must show the following with proper documentation:
Family Members of B-1:
Family members (spouse and children) of B-1 visa holders are not eligible for a dependent B-1. Dependents will be required to apply for B-2 visas individually weather they are accompanying the B-1 visa holder or they are following to join at a later date.
B-2: Tourist Visitors
B-2 is a visa to cover your travel for pleasure. Tourism, social and family visits, some medical treatments, and participation in amateur sports, music, or similar events are all typical activities covered by the B-2 visa. It may also be used by some family members or domestic partners accompanying or visiting family members in B-1 and some other visa categories. Employment is not allowed with a B-2 visa.
Eligibility for B-2:
A B-2 Visa Applicant must show the following with proper documentation:
Length of Stay:
An initial B-1 or B-2 visa may be granted for up to 6 months, to be determined based on the needs of your trip. Additional extensions may be given for an additional 6 months. Generally, the longest length of a B-1 or B-2 visa trip may be 1 year.
The length of the stay allowed by the visa is determined at entrance to the US and depends on your particular situation.
Visa Waiver Program
Some temporary visitors from designated countries may be allowed to enter the U.S. without a visa through the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver Program has separate set of procedures and restrictions different from the B-1/B-2 visa categories. Even travelers from Visa Waiver eligible countries, may still need a B-1/B-2 visa from a US Consulate abroad. If you are a visitor from a Visa Waiver eligible country and you wish to extend your trip beyond the date given to you at entry on the I-90 form, you would file to extend your stay with a B-1/B-2 visa.
How to Apply
You may apply for a B visa from outside the U.S. through your closest U.S. Consulate. You will be required to schedule a visa appointment at the consulate before your trip. If you are inside the U.S. and you wish to extend B visa status or change your status to a B visa, you can file an application with the USCIS.
How we can help
Passage Immigration Law can help you with your B visa.