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B Visa Overview

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The B visa category applies to citizens of foreign countries who wish to visit the United States for a temporary period.  There are two types of B visas: B-1 (for business) and B-2 (for pleasure or medical treatment).  A B-1 visa would be issued for an individual desiring to enter the U.S. to consult with business associates; attend a scientific, educational, professional or business convention or conference; settle an estate; or negotiate a contract.  A B-2 visa would be issued for an individual wishing to enter the U.S. for touring, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a social or service nature.

Foreign travelers who are citizens from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa for tourism or business for 90 days or less on the Visa Waiver Program.  (See Visa Waiver Program below.)

A. Duration of Stay

A business visitor (B-1) will be granted a period of entry sufficient to conduct his or her business.  Generally, these visits are approved for less than three months.  

A non-business visitor (B-2) will automatically be granted a six-month period of entry.  Only in unusual circumstances will a B-2 visa holder be granted a period of entry that is shorter or longer than six months.  

It should be noted that it is possible to obtain a period of admission of one year on initial entry to the U.S.  Additionally, extensions of up to six months may be granted.

B.    Application Process

In order to obtain a B visa, you need only apply with the U.S. consulate; an application to the Immigration Service is not required.

C.  Items for Travel

It is useful, in order to assure entry at the border, for the B-1 visa holder to carry a letter from his or her company, similar to the letter supporting the visa application that affirms:

 • The purpose of the trip.

• The limited duration of the trip.

• The visa holder's steady employment with the company and strong ties with his or her home country.

 The individual applying for the tourist visa should carry a letter of invitation, together with such other pieces of documentation as hotel reservations or evidence of other travel arrangements.

 The B-1 and B-2 visa holder should also bring with him or her:

• Copies of the documentation that accompanied the visa application.

•The return portion of his or her round-trip ticket and evidence of prepaid accommodations or confirmed hotel reservations.

• Sufficient funds to cover the period of stay requested by him or her.

D.    Special Conditions

It should be noted that an alien entering the U.S. with a B visa must not engage in gainful employment (labor for hire) in the U.S.  Additionally, the undertaking of an academic study program is not permitted (with a few limited exceptions).

E.   Basic Requirements for Obtaining B-1/B-2 Status

There are five basic requirements for issuance of a B visa, as specified by The State Department:

1.    The alien is entering the U.S. for a limited duration.

2.    The alien intends to depart the U.S. at the expiration of his or her stay.

3.    While in the U.S., the alien maintains a foreign residence which he or she has no intention of abandoning.

4.    The alien has adequate financial arrangements to travel to, sojourn in, and depart from the U.S.

5.    The alien will engage solely in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure.

F.   Additional Information

No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore, final travel plans or the purchase of non-refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if the traveler has a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport, do not remove the visa page from the expired passport. You may use it along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Visitors are not permitted to accept employment during their stay in the U.S.

G.  Family Members

There is no derivative status for B visas, which is why family members must qualify independently for a B visa.

H.  The Visa Waiver Program

Nationals of several countries do not need to obtain B visas for business or tourist visits to the United States for a period of up to 90 days, as long as certain conditions are met. Here is the list of countries whose nationals are eligible for the Visa Waiver program, according to the Department of State website:

 Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:



New Zealand









San Marino




Czech Republic








South Korea











the Netherlands

United Kingdom

For more information, click here.

B-1 and B-2 extensions

Kamal ji, it is difficult to predict what will happen. But if you decide to travel alone, you should have a good (true) explanation for why you are traveling alone.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Traveling on a Visa

I would like to know if it is possible for someone to be in the U.S on a six month visa to travel to Canada for a week or a weekend?

Traveling on a Visa

Yes, assuming you have a multiple entry B visa. You should check the requirements on the Canadian side also.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

B1 visa

Hi, I'm an Italian IT consultant (I work on my own). One of my customers (the most important) is based in the US and needs me for a long period (10-12 months) to develop a project in the US with them.
Could I apply for a B-1 visa? Could I extend the duration to 12 months? or, otherwise, could I come back to Italy and after a short period back to the US without limitation?

B1 visa

This will need some discussion Daniele. Log in to our next free community conference call. I will explain.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

B2 Visa Extension

I am holding B1/B2 visa (valid 5 years/ multiple entries) with I-94 form due to Sept. 5th.
I was wondering if I can do an extension on the visa for another 6 months.
Is there anything I have to provide specifically in order to have a better chance to get the approval?
Thanks in advance !

B2 Visa Extension

As I noted yesterday for someone in a similar situation, while extensions are possible, they may not be the advisable. See my blog, especially this entry: http://forums.immigration.com/entry.php?314-Effect-of-B-2-B-1-Extensions<

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

B2 Visa looking for extension

I am on B2 visa with I-94 form due on Sept 5th, would it be possible if I can do an extension on the B2 visa. My visa is 5 year with multiple entries. I have read the previous different posts and I would like to get a better and clear answer on my own situation. Thank you in advance!

B2 Visa looking for extension

While extensions are possible, they may not be advisable. Read my blog.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

Mother US tourist Visa

I want to ask what are the chances of my mom's visa approval. Im a green card holder, my husband is in the military. We are currently here in the Philippines for vacation, but my husband have to leave early for work and I am left with my one year old baby. We asked my mom if she can come with me to the US just so I can have someone help me with my baby with the LONG FLIGHT and we can give her a little tour and introduce her to my husband's side of family. My mom was denied last week, she can't speak english well,so we are trying to apply again this time with interpreter. what do you think? tnx

Mother US tourist Visa

Try. But make sure that consulate does not misunderstand that the purpose of the trip is somehow just providing "child care."

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

B-1/B-2 visa question


I am a US citizen. I applied for my brother's I-130 in 2009. His I-130 was approved in 2009. Since visa is not current, he did not receive letter from the US embassy yet. We do not expect he will come to the USA before 2018. In the mean time, my brother wants to visit USA in either B-1/B-2. He has sufficient ties and wealth in back home to prove that he will back after visiting the USA. But somebody told me that he will not get B-1/B-2 visa, since his I-130 case has been approved. Is it true? Can you suggest how he can visit US without abandoning approved I-130?



B-1/B-2 visa question

Manob, visiting on B visa does NOT abandon his green card. That is not an issue. Obtaining B-=1/B-2 may be difficult, but try. Make sure the fact that his green card is pending is revealed to the consulate.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

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