B-1 Visa, B-2 Visa or Visitor Visas
The B-1 visa is a temporary business visa and is available to those who are involved in commercial or professional business activities in the United States. B-2 visas are for tourism purposes. This guide explains both.
Why Would You Want a B-1 or B-2 Visa?
There are many reasons why you might want to come to the United States on a B-1 or B-2 visa. Some examples of these activities may be:
- Negotiating a contract
- Soliciting investment or sales
- Participating in training
- Traveling for a business convention, meetings or conference
- Consulting with a business associate
- Settling an estate
- Conducting research
- Interviewing or hiring staff
Who Should NOT Use a B-1 Visa?
The B-1 visa should not be used for those who are running a business in the U.S., are gainfully employed by or paid by an organization within the U.S., are participating as a professional in entertainment or sporting events. These would be different types of work or employment visa, such as H-1B visas, O-1 visas, E-B2 visas or something similar.
How to Get A B-1 Visa
Many people choose to work with a San Francisco immigration attorney to get a B-1 visa. In order to do so, you must meet certain requirements. In fact, to obtain a B-1 visa you must demonstrate:
- The purpose of your trip is for a legitimate business need
- You plan to remain for a limited period of time
- You have funds to cover expenses for your trip in the United States
- You have residence outside the United States which you will return to at the end of your visit
- You are otherwise admissible to the United States
- In some cases, for domestic servants or foreign airline employees, you may need employment authorization
What Forms Do You Need to Apply for a B-1 Visa in the United States?
There are a few different forms that you may need in order to apply for a B-1 visa, depending on your specific situation. The most common form is the DS-160, which is an online application. You will also need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the United States. In some cases, you may also need additional documents, such as:
- A letter from your employer detailing the purpose of your trip
- An invitation letter from a U.S. business
- Proof of financial support for your trip to the United States
Your lawyer can help you fill out and file the appropriate forms, as well as submit supporting documentation on your behalf.
Can Your Family Come to the U.S. With You if You Have a B-1 Visa?
The spouse and children of a B-1 visa holder are not allowed to obtain a dependent visa; each must apply separately for visas based on their needs.
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How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a B-1 Visa?
The initial period of stay for a B-1 visa is one to six months (six months is the maximum length of time possible) with the possibility of an extension of stay. If you need to extend your stay, you may do so by filing a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized period of stay expires. You will need to show that you have a legitimate reason for extending your stay, such as unfinished business or a delayed departure.
What Happens if You Overstay Your B-1 Visa?
If you overstay your B-1 visa, you will be subject to removal proceedings and may be barred from returning to the United States for a period of time. It is important to note that even if your visa expires while you are in the United States, you are not automatically required to leave the country. However, it is advisable to depart as soon as possible to avoid any complications.
How to Get a B-2 Visa
The B-2 visa is also called a “Visitor for Pleasure” (tourist) visa. Any person can apply for a B-2 visa without a U.S. sponsor. This visa is available to those who are looking to enter the U.S. for reasons of:
- Vacation (holiday)
- Medical treatment
- Participate in social events
- Enroll in short recreational courses of study (ie: cooking classes)
- Visit with friends or relatives
What Documents Do You Need for a B-2 Visa?
In general, the following documents will be required for a B-2 visa:
- Passports valid for travel to the United States and for at least six months beyond your stay in the United States
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Application fee payment receipt
- Sometimes you may need an Affidavit of Support
- Your photo
Depending upon your circumstances for applying for your visa, you may need to supply other information (such as proof of medical diagnosis for medical treatment, proof of a round trip plane ticket, bank records and other documents). Your attorney will help determine if you need additional documentation, and if you do, she’ll help you figure out which documents are appropriate.
Can Your Family Come With You on a B-2 Visa?
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may come with you on a B-2 visa as long as they meet all the requirements for a B-2 visa.
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How Long Can You Stay in the United States With a B-2 Visa?
The general rule is that you will be allowed to stay in the United States for up to six months on a B-2 visa. However, the immigration officer at the port of entry has the discretion to limit your stay to a shorter period of time. If you want to stay longer than six months in the United States, you will need to apply for an extension of stay with USCIS before your authorized period of stay expires.
What Happens if You Overstay Your B-2 Visa?
If you overstay your B-2 visa, you will be subject to removal proceedings and may be barred from returning to the United States for a period of time. You should leave the country before your visa expires.
Getting Your B-1 or B-2 Visa for Travel to the United States
To start the process of obtaining a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation. By preparing some of your necessary documents in advance, we can make the most of our consultation time.
Obtaining a visitor visa is usually fairly straight-forward and generally can be completed within a few weeks. Using an experienced immigration attorney, like Angela Warren, can help improve your chances of approval.
To take the first steps in obtaining a visitor visa, like a B-1 visa or B-2 visa, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation.
What Happens During a Consultation With an Immigration Attorney?
During a consultation with an immigration attorney, you will have the opportunity to discuss your specific situation and learn more about your options. The attorney will ask you questions about your travel plans and why you are coming to the United States. You should be prepared to answer these questions so your attorney can help you find the right type of visa.
You’ll also have a chance to ask the attorney specific questions about their practice and their fees. Here are three questions you should ask during a consultation with an immigration attorney:
- What are your fees, and what are the fees for my visa?
- How much experience do you have with B-1 and B-2 visas?
- How long do you think it will take to get my visa?
Here’s a closer look at each.
Question #1: What Are Your Fees, and How Much Will My B-1 or B-2 Visa Cost?
You should always ask an attorney about their fees before you hire them. Make sure you understand what the fees cover and whether there are any additional costs, such as filing fees.
Question #2: How Much Experience Do You Have With B-1 and B-2 Visas?
It’s important to hire an attorney who has experience with the type of visa you are applying for. Because we’ve handled many B-1 and B-2 visas, we have a good understanding of the process and what documents you’ll need to obtain your visa.
Question 3: How Long Do You Think It Will Take to Get My Visa?
The time it takes to get a visa varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for and your specific situation. However, as experienced immigration attorneys, we will be able to give you a general idea of how long it will take to get your B-1 or B-2 visa.
A Word on Our B-1 and B-2 Visa Services
With 20 years of experience obtaining visitor visas like B-1 visas or B-2 visas, San Francisco immigration attorney Angela Warren works with people around the world to find the right visa solution for their needs. Our track record of success includes obtaining B-1 or B-2 visas for all types of people and circumstances, such as:
- A Hungarian engineer
- A Canadian businessman
- A British scholar
A San Francisco immigration attorney like Angela Warren can be a great advantage for people who want to visit the San Francisco bay area or for people with business reasons to be in the San Francisco bay area. Call us today to schedule your consultation – we’re here to help!
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