Attorney Caroly Pedersen
2771 Executive Park Drive Suite 4
Weston, Florida 33331
Telephone: (954) 382-5378Contact Us Now
Most foreign nationals who enter the U.S. for the first time are entering the country on a common nonimmigrant visa called the "B1/B2" Visa, also known as a “Business”, “Tourist” or “Visitors Visa”. B visas are only issued by U.S. Consulates and Embassies outside the U.S. and cannot be obtained once someone is already inside the U.S. There are two types of B visas: B-1 visas for Business visitors, and B-2 visas for Pleasure and Tourism visitors.
The application for a B-1 or B-2 visa is made at a U.S. Consulate in the applicant’s home country.
B-1 Business Visas are available to business persons who can demonstrate that they are visiting the U.S. temporarily for business and have no intention of abandoning their residence abroad. Most business B-1 visitors receive a six month stay upon entering the U.S. which can be extended in some circumstances for an additional six months.
An application for a B-1 Business visitor visa should normally be accompanied by a detailed letter explaining the reasons for the trip, copy of the itinerary for the trip and, if the trip is on behalf of the applicant’s employer, a confirmation letter from the company that the employer is paying all of the expenses to be incurred during the trip and information on the B-1 visitor's employer. The application should also be accompanied by extensive supporting documentation showing the activities that will take place during the trip, travel documentation, including a copy of the a round-trip plane ticket and evidence of sufficient funds to cover expenses during the trip, copies of trip arrangements, including hotel reservations, car rentals, internal travel domestic flight tickets, tourist packages, and letter showing confirmed meetings with U.S. companies, if applicable.
Business visitors have strict limitations on the type of activities which they are permitted to engage in while in the U.S. For instance, B-1 visa holders must not be engaged in employment in the U.S. either for a U.S. employer or on an independent basis. Any work done in the U.S. must be performed on behalf of a foreign employer and paid for by the foreign employer.
The work should also be related to international commerce or trade. Activities normally considered appropriate for the B-1 visa include: employees of a U.S. company's foreign office coming to the U.S. to consult with the U.S. company, an employee of a foreign company coming to the U.S. to handle sales transactions and purchases and to negotiate and service contracts, coming to the U.S. to conduct business or market research, attending business conferences, seminars, or conventions, an investor coming to set up an investment in the U.S. or to open a U.S. office, professional athletes who are not paid a salary in the U.S. and are coming to participate in a tournament, a member of a board of a U.S. company coming to a board meeting, coming to the U.S. to handle preliminary activities in creating a business (opening bank accounts, leasing space, incorporating, etc.).
B-2 Tourist Visas are available to individuals who can demonstrate that they are visiting the U.S. temporarily for pleasure and have no intention of abandoning their residence abroad. Most B-2 visitors receive a six month stay upon entering the U.S, but may receive a shorter stay depending upon the visitor's statements to the immigration officer regarding how long the visitor needs to complete his or her expected visit. The process for obtaining the B-2 visa can be difficult depending on the national origin of the applicant, the age and marital status of the applicant, and the applicant's ties to the U.S. and his/her home country.
In order to qualify for a tourist visa, an individual must convince the Consular officer that he or she is coming to the U.S. temporarily for a specific period of time, will not be working in the U.S., will maintain a foreign residence that he or she has no intention of abandoning during the period of his or her stay in the U.S., has the financial ability to pay for the trip and expenses or has made financial arrangements with someone else who will pay for the trip, has specific and detailed trip plans, ties to his or her home country such as demonstrated by reasonably good employment, his or her own business or financial connections, close family ties, or social or cultural associations which will help convince the officer that he or she is likely to return home from the U.S..
An application for a B-2 Tourist Visas should normally be accompanied by a detailed letter explaining the reasons for the trip, and be accompanied by extensive supporting documentation showing the activities that will take place during the trip, travel documentation, including a copy of the a round-trip plane ticket and evidence of sufficient funds to cover expenses during the trip, copies of trip arrangements, including hotel reservations, car rentals, internal travel domestic flight tickets, tourist packages, and letter from friends or relatives in the U.S. who will be providing housing during the visitor’s stay in the U.S.
B-2 Visitor visas covers many types of activities in the U.S. including general tourism, visits to relatives or friends, visits for health reasons/Medical treatment, participation in conferences, participation in incidental or short courses of study and participation in amateur arts and entertainment events.
After entering the U.S., visitors may change from a B-1 or B-2 visa to another visa. Common changes include those to an F-1 Student Visa or H-1B work visa, etc. However, applicants for change of status request should reasonably wait at least 60 days after entering the U.S., before a Change request is made, otherwise the USCIS could deny the request, believing that the B visitor had the intention to obtain the new visa status when he or she entered the U.S.