Skip to main content

What are B Visas?

If you are looking to come to the U.S. temporarily for business or tourism/pleasure, you must obtain a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant visa. B visas are also known as a “visitor” visa for individuals entering the U.S. temporarily as a nonimmigrant. Please note that Canadians are visa exempt.

What is a B-1?

The B-1 visa is for those participating in business activities while in the U.S. Such activities include:

  • 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

In order to be eligible for a B-1 visa, you must demonstrate that the purpose of your trip is for business of legitimate nature (see examples above), you plan to remain for a limited period of time, you have sufficient funds to cover the expenses of your stay, you have no intent to abandon your residence outside the U.S., and you are otherwise admissible. 

To apply for a B-1 visa, you must first obtain a B-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. However, this does not guarantee your admission to the U.S. Once you arrive at the border, your case will be inspected by a CBP officer. The B-1 visa cannot be used for dependents.

What is a B-2?

The B-2 visa is for those traveling to the U.S. for recreation. Examples of recreation include: 

  • Tourism;
  • Visiting friends or relatives;
  • Receiving medical treatment;
  • Activities of fraternal, social, or service nature; and/or
  • Participation in events or contests that are amateur in nature and for which no payment is received.

Similarly, to the B-1 visa, you have a limited time associated with this visa. Most typically the maximum period of admission is six months. You also must be able to prove the same eligibility requirements as the B-1 visa upon arriving at the border. The CBP officer will determine how long you are allowed to stay. A B-2 visa cannot be used for dependents. 

If you are interested in applying for a B-1 or B-2 visa, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!