Some of the most important visas for the USA are the B1 and B2 visas. Category B visas belong to a type of non-immigrant visa and only allow temporary visits. In this article we explain everything about this category and how to obtain a visa B1 and B2.
B1 and B2 visas are requested by those who wish to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism purposes. Both visas are applied for by appointment at a U.S. consulate or embassy.
The applicant is required to complete form Ds-160 online and pay the corresponding fee. You should also arrange the date of the interview with an immigration officer as the last step to obtaining it. Although it is the type of visa most requested to travel to the United States, it is also the most denied.
If you need help applying for a B1 or B2 visa, our expert immigration lawyers in Los Angeles can help you. We have over 40 years of experience dealing with these issues in California.
What do B1 and B2 mean on the visa?
Both B1 and B2 are temporary non-immigrant visas. As previously mentioned, the B1 visa is used when the purpose of the trip to the USA is for business. While the B2 visa is for pleasure (mostly tourism) or medical reasons.
The B1 business visitor visa is used when the purpose of the trip is to hold business meetings. Participate in events for professionals such as seminars, conventions or face-to-face courses. Also scientific, educational or business events, as well as closing a business or buying properties.
B visas allow multiple entries into the United States and are valid for ten years for adults. Except for children whose validity is generally just five years.
It means that with the B visa it is only possible to make short visits to the country, with a maximum period of six months. When the situation requires it, it is possible to request the combination of both B1 and B2 visas.
What is the difference between the visa B1 and B2?
The difference basically is the reason for the trip. However, for educational purposes we will explain below what each visa is for. Let’s see:
B2 tourist visa
The visitor visa or tourist visa is used for tourism, leisure or pleasure purposes. Also to visit family or friends living in the U.S. or participate in courses of less than 18 hours per week. It is also used to receive medical treatments of a few weeks or months.
B1 business visa
It is used when the reason for the trip is specifically business or activities related to the applicant’s professional / business activity.
If you have questions about the B1 or B2 visa our experienced immigration attorneys help in all types of immigration matters such as I-601 waiver, immigration appeal process, or cancellation of removal.
What are the differences between “participating in business” and traveling for work?
Businesses include activities such as:
- Obtain business contacts, suppliers or buyers in the United States.
- Negotiating the terms of a purchase / sale contract for goods and services that are provided and paid outside the United States.
- Consulting with business partners or filing litigation to promote business interests or rights.
- Participate in scientific, educational, professional or commercial conventions and conferences, seminars or research activities.
Conversely, employment or work generally means engaging in a paid work activity while remaining in the USA. This includes semi-skilled and unskilled labor or performing paid and practical professional work. If professional service does not involve practical work, then it can be considered as a “commercial” activity.
How long can I stay in the United States with a B1 or B2 visa?
The maximum period of stay in the United States is generally six months. Although the immigration officer has the power to extend the period of stay a little more. Sometimes the residence time within the U.S. is only a month. Other times this it is limited to the period indicated by air or sea passage.
How to apply for the B1 and B2 visas?
To apply for the B1 or B2 visa, you must meet the requirements of the American visa. The main requirement is to have a valid passport. If you have a passport that is more than 6 months old, you can proceed to complete form DS-160.
These are the requirements you need to process for the American B1 or B2 visa:
- Valid passport.
- Confirmation sheet of the printed DS-160 application.
- Receipt of original payment of the visa fee at a local bank.
After paying the visitor visa fee, you can schedule your appointment at the American embassy or consulate. It is advisable to prepare all additional or supporting documentation that will be presented on the day of the interview.
If you have a relative in the United States, remember that you can obtain residence via family based immigration. Call or visit our offices in Los Angeles and we will explain more about these immigration benefits.
What do I need to demonstrate when I apply for a B visa?
It is important that the consular officer is convinced that:
- You have a valid purpose to visit the USA. and only for the reason indicated in the request. For example, business, tourism, medical treatment and others.
- The commercial or leisure activities in which you plan to participate are legal.
- Your planned stay in the United States is for a limited and specific time.
- You have established your residence in a foreign country.
- You do not want to leave your country of residence because you have strong ties there.
- You have sufficient funds to finance the expenses of your visit.
What documents do I need to bring to prove the purpose of my visit?
If you plan to apply for a B1 visa for commercial or business reasons, it is advisable to bring the following documents to the interview:
- Copy of the documents that demonstrate you joining a business or starting your company.
- Bank statements showing that your business is launched and set up.
- Letters or contracts from business partners or customers in the United States.
- Business brochures that demonstrate that your business is legitimate and that you are marketing non-contraband goods.
- Copies of invoices or contracts that you want to make in the United States.
- If you are litigating, you must file court documents requesting your appearance in a U.S. court.
On the other hand, if you plan to apply for a B2 tourist visa, this is what we recommend taking with you to the embassy or consulate:
- Invitation letter / email from family or friends if the purpose is to visit them in the USA. If you are a US citizen or permanent resident, you can provide the naturalization or residence certificate number.
- If you are attending a family event such as a wedding, bring the wedding invitation.
- If you are coming for tourism, have an itinerary and travel tickets ready (not essential). It also serves to bring hotel reservations, amusement park tickets and any other tourist destination.
- If you are attending a seminar or conference, bring the brochures that explain what the seminar is about. If you have paid for the conference or seminar, bring the receipt that proves the payment.
- When the purpose of the visit is to receive medical treatment, you can bring a medical diagnostic certificate. In addition to some document issued by the hospital or clinic stating that the disease or illness is being treated. Along with a bank balance, showing that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses.
Other documents necessary to establish identity and ties to the country of residence
You will be asked to bring your passport. The passport must be valid for six months after the end of your scheduled stay in the United States. Frequent travelers, whose passports show multiple entries and exits to other countries, can prove the reason for their visit. That is, tourism / business and you will return to your country of residence.
If you are traveling to the United States for the first time, you must show that you are not just who you say you are. You must also demonstrate that you intend to temporarily stay in the USA and need to return to your country.
For this, you can present:
- Title to your home or lease.
- Property title of your company or lease of your place of business.
- If you own a car, you can show a copy of the registration certificate along with a copy of your driver’s license.
- Employment certification or professional card.
- Copies of bank statements to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds.
- Payment forms or tax returns.
Any other document that serves to prove that you have no intention of immigrating to the United States is good. It also serves a clean criminal record certification.
What does B1 / B2 visa with border crossing mean?
This is the name of the so-called “Laser visa”, a kind of recently created hybrid migratory document. Since it combines the B1 / B2 visas and the Border Crossing Card. This visa known as a “border passport” or “mica” serves for Mexican and Central American citizens to travel to the United States.
Laser visas are issued for these people to visit the United States for tourism, shopping, or business purposes. It is valid for ten years and comes to replace the Border Crossing Card (BCC). This process will be done gradually as current visas or border crossing cards expire.
It has the dimensions of a credit card and contains personal data of the holder, his photograph and fingerprint. All of this information is encrypted on the new border crossing card. So it can be read with a laser beam.
The laser visa will be very difficult to falsify nor can it be used by another person for theft or loss. This will make the process of entering a U.S. land port of entry more expeditious. On the other hand, it is easier to carry due to its size.
The laser visa could be used even without the need to use the passport in most cases.
How to get the B1/B2 visa?
The B1/B2 visa is a combination of both non-immigrant visas and is used for business and tourism. It is also requested through Form DS-160. Its filling is very easy if you follow the following steps:
- Fill in the personal data and include passport and contact information. You will be asked to choose an option for the type of processing.
- Fill in the details about the payment method (credit card, debit card or PayPal account).
- Add the requested documentation.
To apply for the B1 / B2 visa you will need:
- Valid passport for more than 6 months after the scheduled travel date to the USA.
- Recent digital photo with a white background.
- Valid email to receive confirmation for the interview date.
- A credit or debit card or PayPal account.
You can add the travel itinerary (if you already have it) and information from previous trips (optional). You are also likely to be asked for information such as if you work or study and other additional information.
How to renew the B1 and B2 visa?
The process for the renewal of the B1 / B2 visa is similar to that followed when applying for the first time.
The steps are the following:
- Start the process by filling out form DS-160.
- Pay the corresponding fee ($ 160).
- Send the passport along with a photograph and any other additional documentation requested. There is usually no need to attend the interview to apply for the visa renewal. However the embassy or consulate may include it.
At the end of the process, the embassy sends the passport with the approved visa to the address indicated in the request.
Requirements for the renewal of the B1 / B2 visas
For the renewal of the United States B1 / B2 visa, the following are required:
- Renew only the same type of visa. In other words, you cannot apply for a student visa if you previously had a B1 / B2 visa. Otherwise, you must apply for a new visa.
- If you previously applied for another type of visa and it was denied, you cannot apply to renew the B1 / B2 visa. Example, if you have a B1 / B2 visa and also applied for a student visa and it was denied.
- The visa must be applied for from the same country where the B1 / B2 visa was previously granted.
- Comply with the requirements and documentation required to make the visa application. Also with the application conditions:
- Have a valid passport.
- Not have been arrested / convicted in the USA for a crime.
- Not having been deported or having problems entering the United States
To apply for renewal, the visa must be valid or have expired in the last 12 months.
How much does the B1 / B2 visa cost in 2021?
The current cost for the renewal of the B1 / B2 visa is $ 160. However, this cost may vary depending on the type of processing you choose. For some countries like Venezuela the cost can be $ 205 for the fast process (24 hours). If you choose super fast processing your cost increases to $ 225.
To make the payment, you must follow the instructions established by the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country.
B1 and B2 visa benefits
Some of the most significant benefits of possessing a visa B1 or B2 for the United States include the following:
- Being able to travel to the USA for pleasure or business or when there is this dual purpose. It is also used to make trips for health reasons (medical treatment).
- It is a type of visa with a very long period of validity, it can be up to 10 years.
- When you make flights with stopovers in the USA, you can stay in any city for a few days while waiting for the next flight. This can reduce the cost of the trip or make it more enjoyable.
- It is an ideal visa for temporary business trips. For example, signing new contracts, consulting vendors, and attending conferences or seminars. Likewise, go shopping, visit relatives or friends, take tours on the country.
- The B1 / B2 visa makes it easier to enter Canada without the need to process a Canadian visa in some cases.
If you need advice on obtaining a B1 or B2 visa, call any of our immigration attorneys. Also if you need representation in the Los Angeles Immigration Court. We are professionals with a wide record of cases won; We have helped thousands of immigrants know how to get a Green Card.