B visas are available for non-immigrant visitors for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). The applicant must have adequate financial arrangements (including resources for traveling and staying in the U.S.) to carry out the purpose of the visit, and the applicant must intend to leave the U.S. at the end of the temporary stay.
In order to obtain a B visa, an individual need only apply with the U.S. consulate or embassy; an application to USCIS is not required. Foreign travelers who are citizens from certain eligible countries may be able to visit the U.S. without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program.
It should be noted that an alien entering the U.S. with a B visa must not engage in gainful employment (labor for hire) in the U.S. Additionally, the undertaking of an academic study program is not permitted (with a few limited exceptions).
B-1 Visa: Temporary Visitor for Business
A business visitor will be granted a period of entry sufficient to conduct his or her business. The term business refers to conventions, conferences, consultations, and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature. This does not include local employment or labor for hire. Generally, these visits are approved for less than three months.
B-2 Visa: Temporary Visitor for Pleasure
A non-business visitor usually fall within one of the following categories:
- (i) tourists;
- (ii) those visiting friends and family socially;
- (iii) visitors coming for health/medical purposes;
- (iv) participants in conventions of social organizations;
- (v) participants in amateur musical, sports, or similar events with no remuneration; and
- (vi) persons accompanying B-1 non-immigrants.
A majority of B-2 visa holders are authorized for a six month period of stay, however, extensions may be granted.