US Visa Appointment B1 / B2
The B-1/B-2 is a temporary US visa for those traveling to the United States for business, medical treatment or pleasure. It is officially referred to as Business/Tourist Visa. Just like all other US visas, there are some eligibility criteria you must meet to qualify for a B-1/B-2 visa. Apart from meeting those criteria, your reasons for applying must also be in line with this particular visa classification.
Reasons for Applying for a US Visa Appointment B1 / B2
B-1 and B-2 visas are often categorized as one and issued on the visa as B-1/B-2 Visa. While it is broadly classified as a business and tourist visa, the visa classification covers several purposes. You can apply for B-1/B-2 for any of the following reasons:
US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 : For Business
The business (B-1) visa covers travelers on a business-related assignment. So, you can apply for a B-1/B-2 visa if your reason for travelling is any of the following:
- To consult with business associates
- To negotiate a contract with a US-based company
- To attend educational, professional, scientific, or business conferences or conventions
- To settle an estate.
US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 : For Tourism
The tourist (B-2) visa covers travelers going to the US for pleasure or tourism. You can apply for a US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 if you are visiting the US:
- For recreational purposes, including tourism.
- For a vacation
- For visits with relatives and friends
- To receive medical treatment
- To participate in activities that are of social, service, or fraternal nature
- To participate in music or sports events/contests (without receiving payment for it)
- To take courses that not for credit-awarding purposes
Who Qualifies for a US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 ?
Regardless of your country of origin or location, you may qualify for the B-1/B-2 visa if you can demonstrate you meet certain eligibility requirements. According to a section of the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), every B-1/B-2 visa applicant is usually presumed to be an intending immigrant.
What this means is that there is a suspicion that you will overstay your visa or abscond in the US if given the visa. In other words, there a presumption that every visitor visa holder may want to continue to live in the US illegally by refusing to return to home country after the visa expiration. Therefore, you have a burden of proof to overcome this legal presumption by demonstrating to the immigration officials. So, to qualify for the B-1/B-2 visa, you must:
- Prove that the purpose of your trip to the United States is for a temporary stay, and it is for pleasure, business, medical treatment, or any of the reasons mentioned above.
- Prove that you plan to stay in the United States only for a specific, limited period
- Provide evidence of the required funds to cover your travel expenses while you are in the US
- Have a residence outside the United States
- Have other binding ties strong enough to ensure you will return to your country of residence at the end of your visit. Examples are family, business, employment and other social or economic ties.
How to Apply for US Visa Appointment B1 / B2
Just like most other US temporary visas, your US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 application will require some documentation and appointments. The following are the steps involved:
Complete DS-160 Online Application
Your process to get a US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 starts by completing the DS-160 form, otherwise known as Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application. This application must be completed online by answering questions related to your travel plans and purpose. Also, you are required to upload your photo in line with these specifications. You will be issued an ID number which will allow you to make changes to the application form after submission.
Pay the Visa Application Fee
There is a non-refundable application fee of $160 for the B-1/B-2 visa. You will use any of the available payment plans on the website to pay the fee. After filling the form and paying the required fee, you will need to print the payment confirmation page.
You can also get premium service and help on your application by applying with US visa appointment premium service.
Schedule your US Visa Appointment B1 / B2
B-1/B-2 visa requires some appointments, which include a US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 and Visa Application Center Appointment (VAC). The US Visa Appointment B1 / B2 is a one on one interview with a consular officer while the VAC appointment is for the completion of photo and fingerprint scan. The two appointments must be prescheduled online during the application process and are to be attended on the same date. The VAC appointment first, followed by the interview. To schedule your visa appointment, you will need to provide the following:
- A passport that is valid to travel to the US with a validity date at least 6 months beyond your planned period of stay in the US.
- A receipt showing payment of nonimmigrant visa application processing fee paid in your local currency. Depending on your home country, there may be additional fees to pay after the issuance of the visa.
You will be given a date and venue for your US Visa Appointment B1 / B2. If after the US Visa Appointment B1 / B2, you are granted a visa, you can begin your preparation to travel to the United States.
How Long Is a B-1/B-2 Visa Valid For?
After your US Visa Appointment B1 / B2, visa validity means how long the visa can be used as a valid document to enter the United States. Just like other temporary visa classifications, the validity of B-1/B-2 visitor visa varies widely, depending on certain factors, which include principle of reciprocity between one’s home country and the United States. It could be for as short as one month or as long as 10 years. The longest validity, however, is 10 years.
A B-1/B-2 visa could be for one, two, three, or multiple entries into the United States. You cannot use the visa more than the number of entries allowed on it. For instance, if you have a B-1/B-2 visa with 10-year validity, you can use it to visit the US for as many times within the next 10 years. And if your own visa was issued for one entry, it will become invalid after that one visit. This means you will have to apply for a new visa if you have to visit the US again.
How Long Can I Stay in the US on a B-1/B-2 Visa?
Just like other temporary visas, the duration of stay will be determined by an immigration officer upon your arrival at the US. This will be determined after considering your purpose of visit to the US. The maximum duration of stay on a B-1/B-2 visa is 6 months. It is very crucial to adhere to this date on your I-94 record and leave the US on or before the allowed period lapses. In the event that you are unable to depart the US on or before the permitted period of stay, you may request an extension from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the USCIS finds your reason(s) for extension tenable, you may be given some more time to stay beyond the initially given period.
If you continue living in the US after the allowed time, this would be counted as overstaying your visa. Overstaying a visa is a serious offense that could jeopardize your chances of reentering the US in the future.
NOTE: There is a difference a visa validity and period of stay allowed on a visit. That you have a 10-year B-1/B-2 visa doesn’t mean you can stay in the US for ten years on a visit. It only means you can enter and depart for multiple times within the given ten years. But the stay on each visit cannot be longer than six months, except of course, if you are given an extension by the USCIS.