B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa


Table of Contents

What is the purpose of the B-1 and B-2 Visa?

A foreign citizen travelling to the United States usually needs to apply in advance for a Business Visitor B-1 visa or a Tourist B-2 visa, at their nearest US Consulate. Note that a visitor visa is a 'non-immigrant' visa and is generally used for entry to the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Applicants are not permitted to study, work, get paid for performances or reside permanently in the US.

Permitted activities on a B-1 Business visa are as follows:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Attending a scientific, professional, educational or business convention or conference
  • Settle an estate
  • Negotiate a contract

Permitted activities on a B-2 Tourist Visitor visa

  • Tourism
  • Vacation (Holiday)
  • Medical treatment
  • Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
  • Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
  • Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)

Visitor Visa Eligibility Criteria

There is a mandatory presumption under U.S. law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant until they demonstrate otherwise. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by proving:

Purpose of trip is Temporary - sole purpose is to visit temporarily for business or pleasure.

Visit is for Limited Period - plan to visit the US and remain in the US for only a specific, limited period, and have specific dates of return and return flight booked.

Evidence of Funds - provide evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States, such as bank statements.

Residence Outside the US - provide evidence of residence (house or apartment) outside the United States, in your country of residence, and in addition, any other binding ties that will ensure the applicant's departure at the end of the visit (eg. return to employment, return to care for children etc).

Visa Interview

An applicant for a B-1 or B-2 visa must attend an Interview at the US Consulate with a Consular Officer. Documentation required for the Interview:

  • Passport - valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay period in the US
  • Form DS-160 - Non-Immigrant Visa application confirmation page
  • Application fee Payment receipt - if required to pay before your Interview
  • Photo
  • Supporting documentation to prove your visa eligibility

Visa Denials

After your Visa Interview with the Consular Officer, at the US Consulate, all relevant information is reviewed. The application is then approved or denied based on US law. An application may be denied for the following reasons:

1. Insufficient Information - the Consular officer does not have all of the information required to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a visa.

2. Not Qualify for Visa - the applicant does not qualify for the visa category for which he or she applied.

3. Inadmissible or Ineligible Grounds - the information reviewed indicates that the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law, such as an applicant's past or current actions involving drug or criminal activities may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.