USA and the UK
- What is a B2 Tourist Visa?
- Who can use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program?
- What are the requirements for a B2 Visa?
- What is the B2 visa application process?
- How do I submit Form DS-160?
- B2 Visa Interview
- What documents are required for a B2 visa?
- How long is the B2 visa valid?
- Can you extend a B2 visa?
- What documents do I need to submit to seek medical treatment in the U.S. under a B2 visa?
- What services does IAS offer?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a B2 Tourist Visa?
The B2 Tourist Visa is designed for those who wish to travel to the United States as a tourist or for those seeking medical treatment. With this temporary nonimmigrant visa, you will be able to see family and friends in the United States as well as visit famous landmarks and cities throughout our great country.
The B2 Visa is mainly for the purposes of tourism, making it one of the most popular U.S. visas of all. You can use this permit to take part in recreational activities, such as:
- Vacation (holiday)
- Visit with friends, relatives, or close family members
- 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)
If would like to visit the United States for business purposes, you may want to consider applying for the B1 visa. This temporary visitor visa allows foreign nationals to come to the U.S. in order to participate in activities such as business meetings, liaising with business associates, attending conferences, and any other activity important to their business.
There is no annual cap imposed on the number of people who can receive a B2 Tourist Visa, which means the processing time for this visa is relatively quick.
Tourists to the United States who are from certain countries in the visa waiver program, do not need to apply for a B2 visa. Instead, they can apply for a travel permit through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Foreign nationals are able to receive travel permits granted by the ESTA program much faster than B-2 nonimmigrant visas that are issued by a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
Individuals who do not qualify for the visa waiver program will need to apply for a B-2 visa through a local U.S. Consulate or Embassy in their foreign country of residence. It should be noted that, unlike a B-2 visa which is valid for six months, travel permits acquired through the ESTA program only last for 90 days.
Furthermore, Canadian citizens and travelers who are citizens of Bermuda do not require visas to enter the U.S. if they are traveling for a visit, tourism and/or temporary business purposes.
What are the requirements for a B2 Visa?
In order to qualify for a visitor visa under U.S. immigration law, visa applicants must meet the following requirements:
- You must be able to demonstrate that the purpose of this trip is to enter the United States temporarily for either medical treatment or pleasure
- You must demonstrate that you plan to visit the United States for a specific, limited time period
- You must provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover your travel expenses while in the United States
- You must be able to demonstrate that you have binding ties and a residence outside of the United States that you will return to once your travels have ended
What is the B2 visa application process?
The most fundamental steps of the B2 Tourist Visa application process are as follows:
- Complete Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application)
- Pay the visa fees
- Schedule your interview at the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- Gather together the required documents for your visa
- Attend the visa interview
How do I submit Form DS-160?
The completion of the DS-160 Form is the first step in the B2 Tourist Visa application and is used for most nonimmigrant visas. The applicant will need to provide personal information in the online form as well as provide a purpose for their visit to the United States.
After you have completed the form online, you will be shown a confirmation page and number. It is important to print this page out and keep it safe as it will be needed later in the application process.
After you have completed Form DS-160, you will need to schedule a visa interview at the nearest Embassy or Consulate in your home country. All applicants between the ages of 14-79 must attend.
B2 Visa Interview
Anyone who wishes to visit the United States as a tourist must schedule (and attend) an immigration interview. This interview must be scheduled at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of the foreign national’s country of residence. All applicants between the ages of 14-79 must attend.
There is usually a high workload for embassy officials to contend with so it is highly advisable to book the interview as soon as possible. The U.S. embassy official will ask you questions about your background and application. They will check through your portfolio of documents to ensure that you meet the requirements for the B-2 Visa.
It is vitally important that you provide all of the required information and documents at the interview. Failure to do so could result in the official rejecting your application.
Once the interview has been confirmed, an interview confirmation letter will be sent to the applicant which they must bring to the interview.
What documents are required for a B2 visa?
There are a number of documents that you must bring with you to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for your tourist visa interview. The specific documents which you will need to provide will depend on your particular circumstances. For instance, if you are visiting the U.S. for medical purposes you will need to provide relevant medical documents.
The following supporting documents will need to be provided in a basic B2 Tourist Visa application:
- A passport valid for at least 6 months after your intended stay
- A photo that meets US visa guidelines
- Interview confirmation page
- Confirmation page and code for Form DS-160
- Receipt of the paid visa fees
- A letter which describes the purpose of your visit to the United States
- Financial or bank statements which prove you have the money to finance your trip to the United States. You must have at least $266 for each day of your proposed stay
- Documents showing your ties to your home country that demonstrate your obligation to return home. (This could take the form of a job contract or a property deed)
- An optional visitor visa invitation letter from family or a friend in the U.S. to strengthen your application
- A criminal record document or letter stating you do not have any previous criminal convictions
- Workers need to provide a letter from their employer and payslips for the previous three months
- Photocopies of relative’s status in the U.S. (if applicable)
- A list of the social media accounts that you use, including the name of your account for each of them
How long is the B2 visa valid?
How long a B2 visa is valid will depend on what foreign country the visa was issued in which can range from 1 month to 10 years and include options for single, double, or multiple entries. It should be noted that visa validity is different from the duration of stay. For example, the visa may be valid for 10 years but only allows a maximum stay of 6 months at a time. The period of stay will be recorded by the Customs and Border Protection officer at the U.S. port of entry on the visitor’s I-94 Form.
In accordance with the agreement signed between China and the U.S. to extend visa validity, Chinese citizens who hold 10-year B 1, B 2, or B1/B2 visas in Chinese passports will be required to update their biographical and other information from their visa application on the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS). Updates will need to be done every 2 years or when a new passport is obtained. The EVUS website is now open to the public at www.evus.gov and is currently without an EVUS enrollment fee. For further information about the EVUS program, you can visit www.cbp.gov/EVUS where both the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Borders Protection will keep visa holders informed of any new changes to the system.
Can you extend a B2 visa?
B2 visas can be extended for an additional six months for a maximum stay of up to 1 year in the United States. B2 visa holders who would like to apply for an extension will need to file their application at least 42 days before the expiration date on their I-94. The I-94 is the arrival document attached to the B2 visitor’s passport by the Customs and Border Protection official when the visitor enters the United States.
Applications for B2 visa extensions can not be submitted within the first three months of your stay in the United States. To apply for a B2 extension, the applicant will need to submit the following documents:
- The completed I-539 Form (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status)
- A valid passport
- A written statement explaining why you need the visa extension
- Evidence to show you can support yourself financially
- A payment of $370 for the B2 extension fee
- Original or photocopy of I-94
What documents do I need to submit to seek medical treatment in the U.S. under a B2 visa?
If you meet the specific requirements, you can use your B-2 Visa to receive medical therapies in the United States. In order to do this, you must show that your therapy or medication is not available in your home country. Moreover, you must provide proof that you can afford to pay the costs of U.S. healthcare by providing bank statements or certified copies of income tax returns.
Your U.S. Embassy or Consulate may ask you to undergo several medical exams. In addition to your application, you must provide the following evidence:
- A letter from your local physician explaining your medical diagnosis along with the recommended treatment
- The reason why this treatment is not available in your home country
- Your doctor’s recommendation to seek medical care in the United States
- A letter from a physician or medical facility in the U.S. stating that they will accept you as a patient
- An estimated cost of all the medical related expenses (doctors’ fees, hospitalization fees, etc)
Furthermore, the American Center for Disease Control will approve your stay only if your disease is not considered to be of “public health significance”.
What services does IAS offer?
Our team is made up of qualified immigration lawyers who can provide you with the best visa application guidance.
If you are seeking medical treatment in the United States, your lawyer will:
- Perform a full document check to ensure that your case meets the B-2 Visa requirements
- Review if you need a translation for every medical evidence that is not written in English
- Liaise with your local doctor and your chosen physician in the U.S. to ensure that your medical documentation is in order
If you want to submit your B2 Visa application for pleasure purposes, we will be happy to follow your case as well. Our services include:
- Review your B-2 Visa documentation
- Checking you have sufficient proof of strong ties with your home country
- Completing all your application forms
- Following your case (if you need to apply for a B2 Visa extension)
With our guidance, you are on the route to successfully getting your B2 Visa. Contact us today by calling us on +1 844 290 6312or using our online contact form.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
The current application fee for a B2 Tourist Visa is $160. This fee is non-refundable must be paid before you attend your interview.
Depending on the country from which you are applying and your nationality, you may also need to pay an issuance fee. For further information about the issuance fee, visit travel.gov (the website of the U.S. State Department’s official government organization).
You will not be able to get a Green Card through the U.S. Tourist Visa. The B-2 Visa is a temporary visa, which means it is not a form of permanent residence.
You will need to return to your home country to begin a Green Card application.
You can get married in the United States with your partner while on a B1/B2 Visitor Visa. However, this will not grant your permanent residence in the country nor will it grant you a B2 Visa extension. If you would like to adjust your visa status so that you can live in the U.S. with your spouse, you will need to return to your home country and apply for a Marriage Green Card through consular processing.
If you would like to get married in the United States and stay in the country with your spouse while you adjust your visa status, you can apply for a K1 Fiancé Visa.
The processing time for a B2 visa will depend on the workload and backlogs of routine visa services of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to which you are applying. It could take anywhere from a couple of weeks or months for you to receive a decision on whether or not your visitor visa was approved.