Foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. Either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for a permanent stay. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas that allow the visa holder to stay in the United States temporarily for business, tourism, or pleasure.
Business Visas (B-1)
A B-1 business visa is used to enter and stay in the U.S. temporarily for the following reasons:
- To consult with business associates
- To attend a scientific, educational, profession, or business convention or conference
- To settle an estate
- To negotiate a contract
- To participate in short-term training
In order to be eligible for a B-1 visa, an applicant must demonstrate the following:
- That their trip is for a legitimate business reason
- That they will only remain in the U.S. for a specific, limited period of time
- That they have enough funds to pay all of the expenses for their trip
- That they have a residence outside the United States and have no intention of abandoning it, and that they have other ties to their home country that will ensure that they return there after their U.S. visit has concluded
- That they are otherwise admissible to the United States
Length of Stay
A B-1 visa holder can stay in the United States for up to six months. The visitor can also apply for an extension for another six months. This way, the maximum amount of time that a B-1 visa holder can stay in the U.S. is one year.
Family Members of B-1 Visa Holders
The spouses and children of B-1 visa holders are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. If they wish to enter the U.S. as well, they must apply separately for a B-2 tourism and visit visa.
Tourism and Visitor Visas (B-2)
In order to be eligible for a B-2 visa, an applicant must demonstrate that they are entering the United States for at least one of the following reasons:
- To take a vacation
- To visit with friends or relatives
- For medical treatment
- To participate in social events that are being hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- To participate in a musical or sporting event, or something similar, as an unpaid amateur
- To enroll in a short recreational course of study that does not grant credit towards a degree
B-2 Eligibility Criteria
The eligibility criteria for B-2 visa holders are very similar to the ones for B-1 visa holders and includes the following:
- The purpose of the trip must be for pleasure, tourism, or medical treatment
- The applicant must plan to remain in the U.S. for a specific, limited time period of time
- The applicant must have the necessary funds to pay for their expenses while they’re in the U.S.
- The applicant must to maintain a residence outside the U.S., as well as other binding ties to their home country that will ensure that they return there at the end of their U.S. visit
Length of Stay
B-2 visa holders can stay in the United States for up to six months, with six months being the maximum. They can also apply for an extension of up to 6 months. Meaning, that similar to a B-1 visa holder, the maximum amount of time a B-2 visa holder can stay in the U.S. is one year.
Immigration Attorney Jose C. Campos, Esq. has significant experience in immigration matters and can assist you with your application for a B-1 or B-2 visa. Please contact us to receive more information or to schedule an appointment.