The B-2 Visitor Visa category can include tourists; those visiting relatives or friends; amateur artists, musicians, athletes receiving no payment; and those taking part in conferences, conventions, fraternal services, or social organizations. These visas are not available for students wishing to study in the United States. However, a short study that comes as a consequence or as a minor part of the visit is permitted with the B-2 visas. Over three quarters – a substantial amount of people – of the non-immigrants that come into the United States each years hold B-2 visas or are tourists.
Qualifying for a B-2 Visitor Visa
The law in the United States assumes that everyone looking to apply for a visa is also looking to immigrate into the country. For this reason, applicants should show that:
- The visit is for pleasure (tourists) or for medical reasons;
- There is a specific date they will be leaving and therefore a specific period of time they will be staying in the United States;
- There is no intention to abandon a foreign residence during the stay in the United States;
- The person is not working in the United States and is there fore legitimate pleasure-related activities.
Additional Considerations when applying for the B-2 visa include:
- Funds are sufficient for expenses during the stay in the United States and the return fares;
- There are specific and realistic plans for the entirety of the stay;
- Binding ties and a residence outside the United States that ensure the return aboard after the visit.
The probability of having the visa approved increase if the trip is going to be short, with a clearly planned out schedule, there is proof there are enough funds, and there is a job in their country of origin waiting for them that ensures they will return on the designated date.
B-2 Visa Application Process
The best place to apply for the visitor visa is the American Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over their permanent residence. While any U.S. consular office can issue a visitor visa, it might be more difficult to obtain a visa from any Consulate office outside their permanent residence.
B-2 Visa Supporting Documentation
The visa application process generally includes an interview at the Embassy or Consulate. Those below 13 and above 80 years of age do not need to have this interview unless otherwise directed by the Embassy. Each applicant must submit forms, documentation, and fees. These include:
- Form DS-156, also known as the Nonimmigrant Visa Application, to be accompanied by a letter from a relative sponsor or friend inviting them to the United States;
- Form DS-157, a supplemental nonimmigrant visa application form;
- A Valid passport to travel to the United States, with a date at least six months beyond the end of the intended visit to the United States;
- Two identical photos in color without a head covering that was taken against a light colored background, unless a headdress is required by a religious order that the person is a member of;
- Information describing the company (brochures and catalogs, for example);
- A copy of the tour schedule;
- Documentation of the ability and intention of the person or their employee to support the travel and other expenses incurred while in the United States.
It is important to remember that the required forms and supporting evidence that are needed to obtain a B-2 visitor visa can be complicated. It is highly recommended that you consult with a legal professional before moving forward with your case.
B-2 “Visitor” Classification
The applicants must show that they are classified as visitors under the United States law, which is done with:
- Evidence that shows the purpose of the trip, an intent to leave the United states, arrangements to cover costs; however, exact form of these documents cannot be expressed by law and as such vary from situation to situation;
- Applicants who do not have sufficient funds must present sufficient evidence that someone in the United States (an interested person) will pay for what they cannot pay;
- Other documentation dependent upon the situation of the applicant may be necessary to back the purpose of the visit and specify nature of obligations that would make them return abroad.
Other documentation not listed may be required when a person is visiting the United States for medical treatment.
It is important to remember that there is no assurance regarding the visas that are issued in advance of a travel. Final plans or nonrefundable tickets should not be set before a visa is issued. Unless it has been previously canceled, the visa is valid until the expiration date it has been given. If the passport expires first, the visa page should not be removed. The valid visa can be used with a new and valid passport to get admission into the United States. Under no circumstances can a visitor to the United States accept work during the stay in the country.
Visa Stay and Extensions
A tourist visa is normally given for six months. It can be extended in some cases for another six months. However, the applicant’s spouse and children – if applicable – must independently qualify for a B-2 visa if they wish to extend their visas.Should an applicant have questions about application procedures or visa ineligibilities, they should contact the American consular office abroad that is nearest them. If the questions concern a visa case that is already in progress overseas, the applicant should first contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is handling their case for information on their case’s status.
The granting of a visa does not guarantee that the applicant will be granted entrance to the United States. The immigration authorities have the right to deny admission and determine the period of time a person can stay in the United States legally. At the area of entry, the immigration officials must verify admission to the United States. Form I-94 – a record of arrival and departure that shows the legal length of the stay – must be stamped. Any visitors intending to stay beyond the time that has been indicated on the I-94 must contact the USCIS to request an application to extend the legal stay, which is form I-539. The granting or denial of a request for the extension of a stay is made expressly and solely by the USCIS.
Consult a Legal Professional
KPPB Law is able to assist an individual who is seeking a B-2 visitor visa. Our highly experienced immigration attorneys are capable of analyzing your current situation and managing your case to ensure the best results possible.
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Our firm believes in educating our clients. Because of this, we offer free initial consultations by phone or at our office location so that you can discuss your case and understand your options. To set up your free consultation, call KPPB Law or send us a message online.