The Business and Tourist (B-1/B-2) visa is granted to people wanting to come to the U.S. for a temporary stay, for traveling or business purposes. However, such visa does not allow the individual to pursue studies or employment in the U.S.
The B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa is to be obtained through a U.S. Consulate, which means that the applicant will have to apply for the actual visa from abroad, through the U.S. Embassy of his/her country of residence.
More accurately, the B-1 Visa allows people to engage in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
- Consulting with business associates
- Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
- Settling an estate
- Negotiating a contract
- Participating in short-term training
- Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
- Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa
- The difference between having business and working in the US is major, and sometimes ambiguous: one might be having business activities in the U.S., but cannot receive any form of salary or compensation from U.S. entity or individual for his or her business. Thus, one’s income has to derive from foreign origins.
The B-2 Visa, on the other hand, allows people seeking entry in the U.S. for the following purposes:
- vacation (holiday)
- visit with friends or relatives
- medical treatment
- participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
- enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
In most cases, the applicants file for a combination of business and pleasure purposes, and will be delivered a “B-1/B-2 Visa” that does not show which ones of the reasons prevail.
These non-immigrants must satisfy to the U.S. consular officer that they wish to enter the U.S. for a temporary period and for the specific purpose designed by their visa. The B-1/B-2 Visa holders need to prove that they are coming to the U.S. for a temporary period, therefore that they maintain ties to their home country (financial, employment, family, etc…) and intend to leave and return home following their visit.
The B-1/B-2 Visa will be granted for a maximum period of 10 years, but each stay cannot exceed 6 months, unless asking for an extension of stay, thereby allowing the individual a stay of up to one year, upon demonstration that this period is necessary for pursuing the intended tourism or business.