B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa, Explained

Understanding the B1/B2 temporary travel visa

What is a B1/B2 visa?

The B-1/B-2 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa that allows the holder to travel to the United States for either business or tourism purposes.

Almost all reasons for temporary travel are covered by B visas except student travel, which is covered under F-1 visas. The B-1 visa covers business trips, while the B-2 visa covers tourism, such as vacation or visiting family.

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B-1/B-2 Visa Requirements

The B1/B2 visa covers a variety of reasons for travel to the United States that includes both business and tourism/non-business purposes.

Reasons for travel under a B1/B2 visa include but are not limited to:

  • Conducting business, such as negotiating a contract or attending business meetings
  • Attending a conference relevant to a profession, education, or current business endeavor
  • Settling a relative’s estate
  • Engaging in tourist activities or take a vacation
  • Visiting family
  • Receiving medical treatment
  • Attending or taking part in events, such as concerts or classes, as long as there is no payment or credit given to the attendee

You cannot travel under this visa to engage any of the following, per the U.S. Department of State:

  • Study
  • Long-term employment by a U.S. firm
  • Paid performances, or any professional performance before a paying audience
  • Arrival as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft
  • Work as foreign press, in radio, film, print journalism, or other information media
  • Permanent residence in the United States

A B-1/B-2 visa does not grant permanent resident status — it is a temporary visa – but the holder can apply for a green card. The maximum amount of time issued for a B1/B2 visa is 180 days.

This visa allows for multiple entries into the United States.

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B-1/B-2 Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for a B-1 or B-2 visa, the applicant must prove that the travel is temporary and they have the ability to self-fund all costs of the trip. Additionally, they must prove that they have no intent of remaining in the United States beyond their stay and abandoning a residence outside of the United States.

Documents needed to apply:

  • A passport valid for six months past the date of return
  • A recent digital photograph, which meets these requirements
  • Documentation of the past five previous trips to the United States, if applicable
  • Proof of funds to cover the entire cost of the trip, including travel, accommodation, and living expenses
  • Proof of binding ties to their home country, such as a job, property, or family

Note: The Visa Waiver Program allows nationals from certain countries to travel to the United States without a visa for business, tourism, or while in transit for up to 90 days. The program currently covers 38 countries and territories, including most countries in the European Union.

Canadian nationals also typically do not need a visa to enter the US unless they have plans

Different entry requirements also apply to Canadian nationals, who unless they plan to work, study, invest, or immigrate. The maximum length of stay can vary, depending on circumstances, between 6 months and 1 year.

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B-1/B-2 Visa Cost

The government filing fee for a B visa is $160. Note this does not include the cost of gathering documents and evidence and acquiring passport photos.

Have questions about the costs of applying for a B-1/B-2 visa? Our partner RapidVisa can help! Get started now.

B1/B2 Visa - Visa Application Process

Applications can be processed by the United States Embassy or Consulate in your country. You can conduct an interview at an embassy or consulate in a third country but it will take longer to process the visa application.

An interview will need to be conducted before an application is fully accepted.

  • The Online Non-Immigrant Application, form DS-160, must be completed. File the form online and print the confirmation page as you will need it for your interview.
  • Upload your digital photo
  • Of course, there are fees to be paid.
  • Schedule and then attend an interview at an U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country. You will need to provide a receipt for all fees at your interview, as well as the confirmation page for DS-160.

As part of the process, Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans are taken. They will probably be taken during the interview, but not always. After an interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires additional administrative processing and inform you of this.

RapidVisa, a Boundless company, stays with you right up until the finish line, when your visa gets approved. Get started today!

B1/B2 - Some Things to Know

As mentioned above, the B1/B2 visa allows for multiple entries into the United States.

Family members, such as dependents or spouses, need a B2 visa to accompany a B1/B2 visa holder.

While the B1/B2 visa does not extend permanent resident status, a holder can apply to change their status. Boundless can help with that process, whether you received an employment offer or met someone, fell in love and got married. In either case, congrats! If you are looking to change the status of your visa, Boundless can guide you through the process. Learn more, or check your eligibility without providing any personal or financial information.