The B-1 and B-2 visas are commonly referred to as the “Visitor Visas”. When a citizen of a foreign country wants to come to the United States temporarily for business, he or she must obtain a B-1 visa. For foreign citizens that only want to come for tourism, pleasure or visiting, he or she must obtain a B-2 visa.
For example, if a traveler wanted to come to the United States to consult with business associates, attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention, settle an estate, or even negotiate a contract, he or she should apply for a B-1 visa. If a traveler came strictly for tourism, holiday vacation, visit with friends or relatives, medical treatment, participation in social events (hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations) or by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events (if not being paid for participating), or enrollment in a short recreational course of study (not for credit toward a degree and does not exceed 18 hours a week), he or she should apply for a B-2 visa. In the event where travelers may come for both business and tourism, he or she can apply for a B-1/B-2 visa.
However, if a traveler is trying to study, gain employment, get paid for a performance, arrival as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft, work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists, and other information media, or become a permanent residence in the United States, he or she is not eligible for a visitor visa.
Once a traveler knows that they are eligible for a B-1 or B-2 visa, they can start the application process. First, one must complete the online visa application which can be found here: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Next, you must pay the non-refundable visa application fee as well as gather all the required documents (Passport, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page, application fee payment receipt, and photo if it failed to upload on the Form DS-160 application). Once all this is information is gathered, schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Once your interview is finished, a consular officer will determine whether or not you are qualified to receive a visa. If your visa is approved, you will then have to pay a visa insurance fee based upon your home country.
Once the whole process is finished, you should be ready to enter the United States, barring any major setback. For more information about the traveler visa, please visit the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website.
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