The B-2 visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa intended for foreign nationals (“FNs”) that are seeking to enter the U.S. for pleasure, tourism, or medical treatment.
- To obtain a B-2 visitor visa, the FN needs to demonstrate that s/he:
- is coming to the U.S. temporarily and for pleasure, tourism, or medical treatment;
- plans to stay for a limited period of time;
- has funds to cover his/her expenses in the U.S.; and
- If the FN cannot cover all the costs of his/her trip, the FN may show evidence that another person will help to cover some or all the FN’s costs.
- has a residence outside the U.S. and “binding ties” that will ensure that the FN will depart from the U.S. when the visit ends.
- Generally, evidence of the FN’s employment and family ties is sufficient to show the purposes of traveling to the U.S. and intent to return to the home country.
- The FN must qualify based on his/her residency and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends.
- With limited exception, the FN on a B-2 visa is not allowed to:
- Obtain employment while in the U.S.;
- Received payment for performances, or professionally perform before a paying audience;
- Arrive as a crew member on a ship or aircraft;
- Work as foreign press, in radio, film, print journalism, or other information media; and
- Apply for permanent residency in the U.S.
Period of Stay:
- The initial period of stay can be for six (6) months.
- The FN may extend the period of stay beyond the date indicated in the FN’s admission stamp or Form I-94.
Dependent Family Members:
- The FN’s spouse and children must each apply for and obtain a B-2 visitor visa to accompany the FN.
- The FN must complete Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa application.
- The FN must pay the visa application fee.
- The FN schedules an appointment for a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over his/her residence.
- At the interview, the consular officer determines if the visa is granted or not, or if further administrative processing is required.
- Assuming the visa is issued, the FN must pay a reciprocity fee, if applicable.
- The B-2 visa allows the FN to travel to the U.S., but it does not guarantee admission. At the port of entry, the Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) agent decides whether to grant admission to the FN or not.
- When the FN is admitted, the CBP agent provides an admission stamp and/or a Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
Maintaining B-2 Visa Status:
- The FN is prohibited from engaging in the activities listed above; engagement in any of these results in a status violation and possible removal from the U.S.
- The FN, who does not depart the U.S. timely, begins to accrue unlawful presence which can result in removal from the U.S. and lengthy bars to returning.