B1 Temporary Business Visitor & B2 Visitor Visa (Tourism and Visit)
What is a B1 & B2 visa?
The B1 visa is issued to individuals entering the U.S. for business purposes. The B2 visa is issued to individuals entering the U.S. for tourism and non-business purposes. In some cases a B1 and a B2 visa can be issued in combination. A business visitor has the ability to conduct negotiations, solicit sales or investments, discuss planned investment or purchases, make investments or purchases, attend meetings and participate in them, interview and hire staff, and conduct research. A B1 visa does not allow an individual to run a business in the U.S., may not receive consistent work and pay (gainful employment), payment by an organization in the U.S., or participating as a professional in entertainment or sporting events.
Holders of a B1 visa must be cautious about what they do since there is a grey area as to what is considered acceptable and what is not. A holder of a B2 visa is travelling to the U.S. for one reason only, and that is to travel. The B2 visa is for individuals who plan to visit the U.S. specifically for tourism or to visit family or friends.
In order to be eligible for the B1 visa:
- you must be able to demonstrate the purpose of your trip is for business of a legitimate nature
- you must show that you plan to remain for a specific time period
- you must have the funds to cover the expenses of your trip and stay
- you must prove that you have a home outside of the U.S. which you do not plan on abandoning, you must show other things that will prove your return such as work, family, etc…
- you must show that you are admissible otherwise
The only difference when applying for a B2 visa is that you must show that the purpose of your trip is for tourism, visiting friends/family, or something of that nature. The B2 Visa allows individuals to apply based on the fact that they are applying for reasons such as tourism, vacationing, visit with relatives or friends, medical treatment, participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations, participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, as long as they are not being paid for it, and lastly enrolment in short recreational course of study not for credit toward a degree.
Usually, a B1 B2 visa is granted for a period of 6 months. If an individual wishes to stay longer, he/she may apply for an extension of this visa in which case he/she might be able to get an extension for another 6 months. In order to obtain an extension, the individual must show that they will be able to stay without working and still have a way of supporting him/herself, and must have a good reason for having to stay. One of the biggest reasons an individual is denied a B1/B2 visa is due to the fact that they cannot prove significant ties to their home country.
Things to know before applying for B1 B2 Visa:
Before applying for either the B1 or the B2 visa, an individual should find out if their country is exempt from having to get a visa in order to travel to the U.S. The following countries do not need visitor visas for up to 90 days as long as they are holding a return or onward ticket to a Country other than Canada: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. This is known as the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. This program does not apply to individuals one private aircraft.
All in all, the main thing you need to prove is that you are in fact just visiting the United States. In order to qualify the immigration officer will want to see all the reasons as to why you would go back and what your reason for entering USA in the first place is. As long as the immigration officer is satisfied with what you show him/her then you should not have a problem getting a B1 B2 visa.
Therefore, if you are travelling to the U.S. temporarily, just to visit, you may find this helpful in getting you started with your application. Whether your travels be to just see the U.S.’s beauty, to visit loved ones that mean a lot to you, or you are just on a business trip and need to be in and out quickly, then the B1 B2 visa is the right choice for you.