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The B-1/B-2 Visa for Visitors to the US

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The B-1 and B-2 Visas are temporary visas that you can use to visit the United States. These visas come in handy in a number of situations. For example, if you have always wanted to take your family to Disney World, then the B-2 Visa can be utilized to make your dream of visiting Disney World a reality. If you need to come to the United States to meet with business associates, then the B-1 Visa can be used so that you can take care of business. Visitor visas are usually issued as a combination B-1/B-2 Visa. This allows you to visit the United States for both business and pleasure. The goal of this post is to inform you on the process as well as the requirements for the B Visa.

 

B-1/B-2 Visas are Not Super Easy to Obtain

One of the first things that you should know is that B-1/B-2 visas are not always easy to obtain. In the 2017 fiscal year, the US government reported that 6,276,851 of the Visas were issued and 2,568,904 were denied. These numbers should not scare you. However, they should alert you to the fact that you need to look at the requirements and plan carefully. With careful preparation, you can increase your odds of a successful application.

 

The General Requirements of the B-1 and B-2 Visa

If you intend to visit the United States for Business or Pleasure, there are general criteria that you must meet before the visa will be issued. The criteria include the following:
  1. Residence in a foreign country–This does not mean that you own your own home. You just have to show that you have a place where you are living in a foreign country.
  2. You have to show that you have no intention of abandoning your foreign residence.
  3. The purpose of your temporary visit is for business or pleasure.
  4. You have sufficient funds for the trip.
All of these requirements above have the overarching goal of ensuring that you intend to visit temporarily. In order to demonstrate that you intend to return to your home country you can show family, employment and social ties to your residence. However, the best evidence that you intend to return is a purchased round trip airline ticket with the return date clearly printed on the ticket.

 

Special Considerations for a B-1 Visa

If your main motivation for visiting the United States is business, then you will have to demonstrate that you will be engaging in permissible business activities. These activities include consulting with clients and business associates. You can also negotiate contracts, perform research, attend a seminar or perform other tasks that do not constitute hands on work. In addition to the prohibition on hands on work, you should note that a B-1 Visa holder can not receive payment from a US source during the visit. Reimbursements for travel expenses are allowed. Payments for your activities during the visit are not.

 

Special Considerations for the B-2 Visa

The B-2 Visa holder must be visiting the US for pleasure. Pleasure is defined as “activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a fraternal, social or service nature.” Also, it is important to note that a B-2 visa holder cannot work in the United States, even if the only payment is for room and board or spending money.

 

The Visa Application Process

The first step in applying for a B-1/B-2 Visa is to file a form DS-160 with the foreign consulate. After you submit the DS-160, you will wait 20 days or more for the the consulate to schedule the interview. The second step is to organize your evidence and attend an interview at the consulate. At the interview, you will want to bring documents that you and your immigration lawyer have gathered to demonstrate your intent to return to your home country and show that you will be visiting the United States for a valid reason.

 

Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer for the B1/B2 Visa

There is no clear answer to this question. If you fully understand the process, it is possible to succeed without an immigration lawyer. However, millions of people are denied B-1 B-2 Visas every year. People in that group may have avoided the denial with the guidance of a knowledgeable immigration lawyer.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately there is a high denial rate for the B1/B2 visa. Hopefully this post gives you an idea of the general requirements and the procedures that you will have to navigate in order to visit the United States.

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