Are you interested in applying for short-term entry into the United States for business or vacation purposes, but need to know more about the visas involved or the process? B-1 and B-2 visas are both nonimmigrant visas issued by the United States for temporary visitors. If you want to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa, you need to prove that you only plan to be in the United States for a short time. Each visa serves a different purpose. The B-1 visa covers business trips, while the B-2 visa covers tourism, such as vacations or visiting family.
The B-1/B-2 visa is a multiple-entry visa, which means you can use it to enter the U.S. more than once. There’s no set limit to the number of times you can visit the U.S. in a year, and it really depends on the specific circumstances and discretion of the Customs and Border Patrol Officers who review your case each time you enter.
It is important to note that B-1 and B-2 visas are generally issued as combination visas (B-1/B-2 visas), meaning they allow the holder to engage in both business and tourism activities during their stay in the United States. A summary of the requirements for eligibility for both of the visas will be discussed separately for clarification purposes even though they may usually be combined together.
Eligibility For The B-1 Visa For Business Purposes
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) provides guidelines as to who is eligible for a B-1 visa. You may be eligible for this visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
- Consulting with business associates;
- Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates;
- Settling an estate;
- Negotiating a contract;
- Participating in short-term training;
- Traveling (in transit) through the United States;
- Deadheading-Deadheading is the practice of carrying, free of charge, a transport company’s own staff on a normal passenger trip so that they can be in the right place. Certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa.
In addition to the above reasons for entering the United States, the following criteria must be met in order to be able to obtain a B-1 visa:
- The purpose is to enter for business of a legitimate nature;
- You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time;
- You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay;
- You have a residence outside the United States and you have no intention of abandoning it;
- You are otherwise admissible to the United States.
Eligibility of the B-2 Visa For Vacation Purposes
The B-2 visa is intended for temporary tourists or individuals visiting the United States mainly for pleasure. You may be eligible for the B-2 visa based on the following reasons:
- Spend Holidays in the United States;
- Visit friends or family;
- Participate in social events created by different organizations;
- Enroll in short courses of study where you will not receive credit, such as a cooking or drawing course;
- Participate in an event or contest in the U.S. related to music or sports in which there will be no payment received;
- Obtain medical treatment or medical consultation in the U.S.;
- Desire to tour various American cities or visit tourist locations.
In addition to the above reasons for entering the United States, you must meet the following criteria in order to be able to obtain a B-2 visa:
- Demonstrate an intent to visit the U.S. temporarily;
- Sufficient ties to your home country, such as strong f