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Visitor (B - visa)

Visitor (B - visa)

The visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business B-1, pleasure, or medical treatment B-2. If the purpose of travel is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention or conference, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then travelers must apply for a Business Visitor Visa B-1. If the purpose of travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, participation in short study courses, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, then travelers must apply for a Tourist Visitor Visa B-2. There is also B visa named Business/Personal Travel Visa.

Applicants for visitor visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The presumption in the law is that every visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstration that:

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the US for business or pleasure;
  • They plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
  • They have a residence outside of the US as well as other binding obligations which will insure their return abroad at the conclusion of the visit.

Applicants must demonstrate that they are properly classifiable as visitors under US law. Evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided.

It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly. For persons traveling to the US on business, a letter from the business firm indicating the purpose of the trip, the bearer's intended length of stay, and the firm's intent to defray travel costs, is an example of necessary documentation. Applicants may provide other evidence substantiating the purpose of the trip, and specifying the nature of binding obligations, such as family ties or employment, which would compel their return abroad after a short stay.

In most cases the total validity period of the B-1 visa period is anywhere from 1 to 10 years during which time the bearer can make multiple trips to the United States.

B-2 visas are typically granted for a period of 6 months to 5 years; the validity period of one-entry visa is 6 months, and the validity of multi-entries visa is usually 5 years during which time the bearer is permitted to make multiple entries into the United States in order to pursue approved B-2 visa activities (tourism, visiting family or friends, health reasons etc.).

An applicant's visitation duration period on a given visit is determined by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer at a US port of entry. Usually each visit to the United States will be limited to a duration not exceeding six months and visa holders are not entitled to employment rights. In some cases this length of stay may be extended by an additional six months; however, candidates must be able to demonstrate that their visit to the USA is intended as a temporary one.

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