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Some travelers go to the U.S.A. to stay there, to live the American Dream. Others go there on a temporary stay – a couple of weeks or months for a pleasure or business trip, after which they return to their own home.
However, with their immigration laws, one cannot simply walk into the U.S. without a visa. In these cases, if your stay is temporary, you may go for the B1/B2 visa. This article will tackle mostly the aspects of the B2 visa.
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The B2 visa, also referred to as a tourist visa, allows you to get into the U.S. for pleasure purposes, tourism, or medical treatment. You may see the U.S. famous sights, as well as create new contacts that you may use back home.
A holder of a U.S. tourist visa may engage in the following activities while in the United States:
If you do not find yourself in any of the above-mentioned categories, then you might not be able to get a B2 visa. You should look into other visas as well, in this case. However, the advantage that the B visa holds over any other types of visas is that it doesn’t have a cap. As long as you qualify, you may apply for a visa how many times you want.
Both B1 and B2 visas are generally used as a joint “B1/B2 Visitor’s Visa,” as many people tend to mix business with pleasure (e.g. a business meeting that gives you time to visit the surroundings).
Still, the main difference between the two is that while the B1 visa is used for business purposes, the B2 visa is used for pleasure. You use the B1 visa to attend a business conference in the U.S., for example, whereas the B2 visa is used when you want to spend a holiday at a friend – or anything else that says “leisure.”
For you to be allowed in the U.S. under the B2 visa, you will need to meet the following criteria that make you eligible:
If you meet the criteria above, then you should be eligible for obtaining a B2 visa.
To apply for a B2 Tourist Visa, you will have to follow these steps:
When opting for a B2 tourist visa, you will first have to download Form DS-160 and submit it. Fill the sections concerning the B2 visa, and once you have submitted it online, you will receive a verification code as well as a verification page. Make sure to keep them at hand, because you will need them for your document package.
For your application to be processed, you will have to pay the visa fee – as well as any potential insurance fees. This can be done either as a money order or paid electronically as a bank transfer. Bear in mind that you will have to keep the receipts, as you will have to attach them to your application.
For you to schedule an interview, you will need to be aged between 14 and 79-years-old. This interview is scheduled at the U.S. embassy from your country, but you have to expect the fact that the interview won’t be soon. Due to the workload, you might have to wait until you receive a confirmation letter.
The most important documents for a B2 visa will include a valid US visa photo, a valid passport, the Form DS-160 confirmation code, and page, as well as the receipts for the paid visa fees. Aside for that, you will also need the information for the interview such as a document describing the purpose of your visit, proof of financial stability, and ties to your own country – to prove that you do plan on eventually going back.
Needless to say, the last step in completing your B2 visa application is to attend the interview. Here, you will be personally asked about the purpose of your trip, your background, as well as other aspects that they might deem relevant. Keep in mind that if you are late, your application might get automatically rejected – and if you make it, you can expect to stay even 3 hours there.
The application fee for the U.S. B2 tourist visa is $160 – not including the potential insurance fees. There are also cases when you might not be required to pay at all – such as when you are working for the U.S. government or are visiting because of a charitable event. If you go for a B2 visa extension, you will have to pay $370.
The processing time will depend from person to person. For some, it will only take a few weeks – whereas for others it might take up to a few months. It will all depend on the workload at your U.S. Embassy.
If you wish to stay for longer, you might go for an extension to your visa that will give you an additional 6 months. The documents required will be the same as for your visa application (passport, statement behind the extension, evidence of financial support, etc.), as well as a completed Form I-539 and a photocopy of the I-94 card.
When it comes to B2 visas, there are bound to be some questions that would frequently appear. Here are some common answers that might be useful to you.
Generally speaking, in order to get your visit approved, you need to prove that you have every intention of returning home. A residence abroad or a job to which you plan on returning – anything that will show your stay is temporary can be useful. Parents with a B2 visa can accompany their children as long as they bring proof of income and temporary stay.
When traveling under a B2 visa, you are allowed to stay up to 6 months. Provided you bring legitimate proof for the purpose of your visit, you may ask for an extension that will give you an extra 6 months.
A B2 visa is what you will need if you wish to visit the U.S. for pleasure purposes, tourism, medical factors, and so on. If you also intend to do business, you might want to get the B1 visa as well. Ideally, you should talk with an immigration attorney, as they will tell you what should be done.
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