How to obtain a B1 B2 Visa
The B1B2 visa for tourists and business travelers
As a US immigration attorney I sometimes get asked about how to obtain a visitor visa to come to America for a short period. The b1 b2 visa or visitor visa is by far one of the most common way to get to the United States. But the visa has requirements and conditions.
The b1 b2 visa is a non-immigrant visitor visa to seek entry to the US for a limited time for business (b1 visa) and pleasure (b-2 visa) . Applicants for this visa must complete visa application Form DS-160 online, pay the visa application processing fee and schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate.
B1 B2 Visa Requirements
The requirements that the U.S. consular official will look at in determining your eligibility for a b1 b2 visa are:
1. You must live in a foreign country which you do not intend to abandon.
This means residence in any foreign country. If you are a Korean national but live in Canada as a landed immigrant that is fine provided you can show that you do not intend to abandon residence in Canada.
To show that you do not intend to abandon residency in a foreign country you may use supporting documents that show;
a. permanent employment,
b. business and financial ties ( e.g. title to land and ownership of a local business),
c. close family ties (e.g. marriage certificate, copies of your children’s birth certificates, school records showing that the children live with you), and,
d. your involvement in social and cultural activities in the foreign country where you live.
The fact that you would leave dependent children, spouse or family behind in coming to the United States is not enough by itself to show a strong reason to return.
2. You must intend to enter the US for a limited time
To show your intention to enter the US for a limited time, you must have a very specific purpose for your trip (e.g. medical treatment, a trip to Disney World, buying equipment for a business, a business conference etc.) and a realistic plan.
The purpose of your trip must match length of your stay in the United States and you should show that you have the money to carry out the purpose of your trip (pay slips, bank statements).
3. You must also show that your sole purpose in visiting the US is for lawful business or pleasure.
While the B1 B2 visa allows a visitor to make business deals related to employment and business in a foreign country, it does not allow employment in the United States for US employers.
The US Consular officer will deny your B1 B2 application if you fail to show any of these US visa requirements. Security checks and alerts may also result in denial or delay of a US tourist visa or denial of admission into the United States at a port of entry.
The B1 B2 Visa does not guarantee admission
Visa issuance alone does not guarantee admission into the United States. Customs and Border Patrol agents will inspect you and decide whether to admit you upon your arrival at a port of entry. The longest time that you may stay in the United States depends on the date stamped on your I-94 Arrival Departure record which you can retrieve online from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Please be advised that a 10 year B1/B2 visa does not allow you to stay in the United States for 10 years! An unexpired visa merely allows you to come to a port of entry and seek admission.
The Visa Waiver program
Some nationals of countries that take part in the Visa Waiver Program, VWP do not need a B1B2 visa to enter the United States for business and pleasure. They may enter the United States for up to 90 days for business or tourism without any extension of stay or change of non-immigrant status.
Currently, 38 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:
Applicants for a b1 b2 visa should visit the US Embassy or Consulate website where they will apply for more country-specific instructions and b1 b2 visa requirements.