B1 and B2 visas (U.S. business/tourism visas)

22 Aug 15:23

What are the distinguishing features of B1 and B2 visas

B1 and B2 visas are sometimes referred to as “B visas” and are the most prevalent forms of visa issued in the United States for a variety of purposes. The B1 visa is mostly provided for short-term business visits, whereas the B2 visa is primarily issued for tourism purposes.
When your B1 or B2 visa application is approved by the US government, “B1/B2” is listed under “Visa Type/Class.” The visitor may participate in both short-term business and tourism activities while in the United States under this visa indication.
The most typical reasons for applying for a B visa are to visit family, relatives, and friends who live in the United States, as well as to engage in short-term business visits to the United States for business conversations, negotiations, meetings, and site inspections. Holders with B visas, on the other hand, are not permitted to work or receive pay or other remuneration in the United States.
To work (even part-time) or invest in businesses, shops, or other ventures in the United States, visitors must apply for an E visa.
Those who may be participating in business activities while in the United States are recommended to verify the content of such activities and their duration ahead of time.

The advantages and disadvantages of B-visa

The benefit of a B-visa is that it may be obtained quickly. In comparison to the E-visa, which is necessary for expats, and the L-visa, which is required for transferring, the application is simpler and easier to get.
The VWP (Visa Waiver Program) is a scheme developed in the United States for friendly nations. Citizens of the system’s subjected nations are allowed to travel to the United States without a visa and remain for up to 90 days. They must apply for an ESTA prior to departure, and their stay is limited to sightseeing or short-term business.
The downside of a B-visa is that it includes restrictions on activities in the United States. Because local employment is not permitted, the B-1 visa is only valid for meetings, inspections, business conversations, and purchasing. Neither the B-2 visa subject to sightseeing nor the B-2 visa related to employment, including part-time work, is authorized.
As of January 2022, 39 countries and areas are subject to VWP, and demand for B-visas is decreasing in each nation while ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) applications are increasing.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The nationalities mentioned below are subject to the Visa Waiver Program and are permitted to remain in the United States for 90 days without acquiring a visa whether visiting for a short-term business trip or sightseeing. When using the Visa Waiver Program, the ESTA application, as well as a valid passport, are necessary prior to travel.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Terms of Use

  1. A valid passport with an IC tip is required.
  2. Prior to departure, an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) application must be completed and “Travel Authorization” obtained.
  3. The visit must be for sightseeing or short-term business, with a stay of no more than 90 days.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Subjected Countries (as of January 2022)

  1. Japan
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. New Zealand
  5. Hungary
  6. Norway
  7. Belgium
  8. Brunei
  9. Chile
  10. Denmark
  11. Andorra
  12. Italy
  13. Latvia
  14. Iceland
  15. Ireland
  16. Portugal
  17. Lichtenstein
  18. South Korea
  19. San Marino
  20. Singapore
  21. Slovakia
  22. Czech Republic
  23. Slovenia
  24. Estonia
  25. Finland
  26. France
  27. Germany
  28. Greece
  29. Lithuania
  30. Luxembourg
  31. Malta
  32. Monaco
  33. Spain
  34. Sweden
  35. Switzerland
  36. Taiwan
  37. United Kingdom
  38. Netherlands
  39. Poland

(listed in no particular order)


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

A point to be paid attention related to Visa Waiver Program (VWP)’s terms of use “Within 90 days staying period”

When a national entitled to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visits the United States, the maximum stay of 90 days is granted with merely an ESTA application. It is allowed to travel neighboring nations Canada and Mexico, however there is a requirement that you stay for at least 90 days. If you intend to stay in the United States for more than 90 days, you must get a B-visa.
ESTA is required for anybody visiting the United States for the purpose of sightseeing or short-term business, and staying in the United States is a universal requirement. Be advised that when crossing a border, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) immigration officials may seek documentation of the purpose of the visit as well as proof of stay time.
In addition, if flying to Canada from the United States, an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) application is necessary prior to departure. It is a travel permission system comparable to ESTA (Electronic System for Travel permission) that is mostly applicable to those visiting Canada for sightseeing or a short-term business trip. When entering Canada by land or sea, no eTa application is required.
The ESTA is valid for two years, and numerous trips to the United States are permitted for stays of up to 90 days.
Check out “ESTA expiration date and re-application” for more details on this topic.

Activities permitted under a B1 visa

Those going to the United States with a B1 visa or with prior ESTA permission under the Visa Waiver Program for short-term business purposes may participate in the following activities while in the country.

  • Contractual discussions in the business world
  • Business meetings, conferences, and so forth with trading partners
  • Participation in specialist business meetings, conferences, etc.
  • For business objectives, conduct research, visits, inspections, and so forth.
  • Purchasing goods, supplies, and so forth.
  • Giving testimony in US courts of law

Activities permitted under a B2 visa

Those visiting the United States primarily for tourism with a B2 visa or with previous ESTA permission under the Visa Waiver Program may participate in the following activities while in the country.

  • Tourism and associated activities in the United States and its territories
  • Visiting family, relatives, friends, or acquaintances in the United States.
  • Undergoing examination, therapy, surgery, and other procedures at medical facilities in the United States.
  • Attending trade fairs, exhibits, and other events in the United States.
  • Participating in meetings, exchange programs, and other activities in the United States organized by social groups, friendly organizations, and so on.

How long can a traveler stay on a B1/B2 visa?

The duration of validity of a visa denotes the period during which the visa holder may enter the United States and not the period during which he or she may stay in the United States. As a result, visitors should be aware that the visa’s validity term does not necessarily correspond to the length of time they may stay in the United States.
The length for which a traveler may stay in the United States is established by the immigration officer at the port of entry, who will make a judgment for a suitable period of stay based on the visitor’s objective. on general, visitors may not stay for more than six months on a single visit. In the case of a B1 visa, however, a visitor may be allowed to stay for one year if immigration finds that such a duration is required for business purposes. If the tourist wishes to extend his or her stay in the United States, he or she may file for an extension while in the country. If allowed, the stay will be extended for another six months, however petitions for extensions may be denied in some situations. Furthermore, a visa does not ensure entry into the United States. It simply shows that a US consulate has determined that the bearer is eligible to enter the US for the purpose of the visa.
As with ESTA authorisation, immigration agents at the airport make the ultimate decision on admittance to the United States. Travelers should be aware that the length of time they are authorized to stay in the United States is not consistent and is determined on a case-by-case basis by immigration authorities at the port of entry.

Can a traveler visit the U.S. many times under a B2 visa, as long as it is in the period of validity of the visa?

You may visit the United States as many times as you like throughout the visa’s validity period. There is no limit to how many times you can visit. However, if you visit the United States regularly and remain for an extended period of time, you may be required to demonstrate to immigration agents that you do not want to immigrate to the United States. It is critical to indicate that you intend to return to your home country or another nation following your stay in the United States. If you do not demonstrate to the immigration officer that you are a traveler with no intention of immigrating to the United States, you may be denied entrance to the United States during immigration screening. Additionally, frequent visitors to the United States may be requested to justify the reason for their visit each time, even if it is for tourism purposes. Travelers planning to visit the United States are typically advised to select the proper visa based on a thorough examination of factors such as their purpose of visit, expected length of stay, and future relationship with the United States.

How to apply for B1 and B2 visas

Here are the specifics for B1/B2 visa applications necessary for a visit to the United States. Begin by following the procedures.
Please see the US Department of State’s “Visitor Visa” for a summary of who is eligible for B1/B2 visas.

STEP1:File “DS-160” application form online

The “DS-160” application is used to pre-screen applicants for nonimmigrant visas to stay in the United States.
All non-immigrant visa applicants at the US Embassy/Consulate General must complete the “DS-160” application form in advance. Completing the “DS-160 online application form

The 10-digit application ID and barcode on the “DS-160” confirmation screen are required for the consular officer interview. Prior to the interview, make a note of the application ID and print off the barcode. Check out “Example of Filling Out Form DS-160” for more information.

STEP2:Visa Application Fee

When the “DS-160” form is submitted, the screen will transition to the visa application payment page. There, you may find a list of various visas as well as application costs in each country’s currency, such as dollars. Select credit card as payment method and pay the visa application fee.
If you are applying for a student/exchange visitor visa (F,M,J), you must pay an extra $220 for SEVIS (I-901) in addition to the visa application price.

STEP3:Schedule your interview

If you are applying for a visa to the United States for the first time, you must build an online profile. Access the internet portal of the US embassy where you are a national (and its regions), then fill out the relevant form. After completing the profile, a 12-digit “interview confirmation number” is displayed. For the interview, the number will be necessary. Make a note of the interview date and the interview confirmation number for yourself.

Following information are required when making an appointment for the interview.

  • Passport must be valid (all information must be on the identity page).
  • On the “DS-160” confirmation page, there is a 10-digit application ID and a barcode.
  • When you finished the profile, you were given a 12-digit interview confirmation number.

Fill out all of the following information, then double-check the categories of visas you applied for, personal information you submitted, visa application fee amount, and interview date.

STEP4:Prepare required documents for interview

Please bring all of the following documents to your interview at the US Embassy/Counsel General.

  1. A valid passport is required.
  2. Passports granted in the previous ten years
  3. On the “DS-160” confirmation page (in writing), there is a 10-digit application ID and a barcode.
  4. When you completed the profile (in writing), you were given a 12-digit interview confirmation number.
  5. 1 x (50mm 50mm) identification photo taken in 6 months

※Identification photos must be in color with a white backdrop and no glasses. Attach the photo to the left top of #3; no tapes should conceal the face.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

STEP5:Interview with Consular officer

Attend your visa interview with a consular official at the US Embassy/Consulate General on the scheduled day. You should attend at least one hour before the interview since the needed documentation, security check, and fingerprints will be completed before the interview.
Because of the emergence of COVID-19 (coronavirus illness), the US Embassy/Consulate General recommends scheduling an interview as soon as possible. When applying for a B1/B2 visa, you should schedule an interview at least three months before your scheduled travel to the United States.

STEP6:Check your visa attached passport

Following the interview, a passport with a visa attached will be mailed to your registered address. After getting your passport, double-check the visa to ensure there are no errors. The visa is usually issued between 10 days to two weeks of the interview. Those who want a visa in a hurry for various reasons may be interviewed after their return from the United States, depending on the judgment of the consular official. Please contact the nearest US Embassy/Consulate General for further information on these instances.

For Citizens of United Kingdom

Visa issuance is prioritized under UK government laws for persons with particular reasons or in emergency situations. As of today, ordinary visa services have not fully recovered due to the spread of COVID-19 illness. Please be advised that visa issuance will take longer than normal due to a restricted number of interview appointment spaces.

If your ESTA application is rejected, apply for a B visa

If you want to stay in the United States for little more than 90 days for tourism or a short-term business trip, registering for ESTA allows for easier and faster entrance processes than applying for a visa. However, if you are unable to obtain ESTA authorisation for whatever reason, you should apply for a B1/B2 visa.
After preparing the necessary paperwork to apply for and acquire a visa, schedule an interview with your local US embassy or consulate general using the US visa application website. Make plans to apply for a visa with plenty of time to spare by checking your trip itinerary.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!