The B-2 visa is offered for individuals who would like to travel to the United States for recreation and leisure. The main use for this visa is to attend social events and conventions, visit family and friends, and sightseeing. Commonly referred to as the “Tourist Visa,” B-2 visas are different from B-1 visa in that they are not granted for business purposes.
Requirements for the B-2 Visa
To apply for a B-2 visa, individuals must provide details about their trip, including specifications on when it will end and the individual’s intent to return to his or her home country. Applicants must provide:
- A stated purpose for their trip, which must be for leisure or medical reasons
- A timeframe of their trip with dates they plan on arriving at and departing from the United States
- An affirmation that the applicant is not applying to abandon their home country or claim asylum
- Proof the applicant is not employed by a U.S. employer
- A detailed itinerary for their visit inside the United States
- Proof of financial ability to pay for travel expenses
- Proof of residence in the applicant’s home country which he or she will return to upon completion of the trip
Trips that are shorter are generally more likely to be approved, and are easier to provide schedules or itineraries to immigration officials. Applicants should also prepare to show their ability to pay for expenses and legitimate reasons to return to their home country after the visit, in order to guarantee the highest chances of a successful application.
Applying for the B-2 Visa
All applicants must visit their local U.S. embassy or consulate during the application process for an interview. Applications may be filed online, but the process is much easier, and more likely to be approved, in person with all relevant documents.
All applicants between 13 and 80 years old will be required to participate in an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The purpose of this interview is to ascertain the applicant’s trip details and purpose, review relevant documents, and determine that the applicant is only planning to stay in the U.S. temporarily.
For first-time applicants, the required documentation may seem daunting, and it is recommended to speak to an immigration attorney before filing the application to ensure the best chance of success. The required forms and documents include:
- Form DS-156, a nonimmigrant visa application
- Form DS-157, a supplemental form including employment details
- A passport valid for 6 months after the end of the trip
- Recent photographs
- Itinerary or schedule of the trip
- Financial documents that prove that the applicant is able to pay for expenses during the trip as well as return travel expenses, or financial documents for any person who is covering expenses during the trip
- Proof that the applicant intends to return to his or her home country after the trip, such as planned activities in their home country or property records that show the individual is unlikely to abandon their home country
Length of Stay Under a B-2 Visa
B-2 visas are generally granted in six month increments, but can be shortened to cover only the necessary dates applicable to the individual’s trip. If the planned trip is longer than six months, B-2 visa holders may apply for additional six month extensions.
Completing a B-2 visa application is not a guarantee that an individual will be granted entry into the United States. It is strongly recommended that individuals who wish to travel to the United States for pleasure wait to book non-refundable travel arrangements until they have been approved and have physical possession of their visa. B-2 visa holders may still be denied entry in situations such as natural disasters or pandemics, so it is crucial to exercise caution.
When a B-2 visa holder arrives in the United States and is granted entry, officials will stamp their Form 1-94 to certify the length of the stay inside the US. Visa holders who wish to extend their stay must file a Form I-539 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, who will decide to grant or deny the extension of stay.
Get Legal Assistance to Help Plan Your Application
Applying for a visa can be a lengthy, complicated process. Getting all the details right takes practice, time, and effort. First-time visitors to the United States may find the process to be burdensome; however, the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC, have experience navigating the application process quickly and painlessly. Contact the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC, today to get started on your application. Call by phone at 703.273.5500 or request a consultation online today.