Foreign nationals seeking temporary entry to the US for tourism and pleasure should consider the B 2 visa.
What is a B 2 visa?
The B 2 visa is a nonimmigrant visitor visa for individuals who want to enter the US temporarily for tourism, pleasure or visiting. and who don’t qualify for the Visa Waiver Program.
The success of your application will be dependent on your planned activity, and your ability to evidence to the authorities that you will leave the US at visa expiry.
You are not able to bring dependants with you on your B 2 visa; each individual must apply separately.
The B 2 visa application process requires that you complete an application form and submit supporting documentation, which could include your itinerary, financial documents, and proof of ties to your home country, as well as attending a US consulate for an interview.
Failure to present a comprehensive and complete application can lead to delays and refusal.
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Our legal experts are highly experienced in all areas of US immigration, including B 2 visa applications. We have helped individuals from the UK, mainland Europe and across the globe secure entry to the US through the B 2 visa. For advice and guidance on your application, please get in touch.
Your questions answered
Who can apply for a B 2 visa?
The B 2 visa can be used by individuals who do not fall under the Visa Waiver Program, and who require short-term permission to visit the US.
The B 2 visa is primarily intended use by tourists, but is also used by individuals who for example are planning to accompany other visa holders to the US or undergo medical treatment, provided the visa criteria are met.
Am I covered by the Visa Waiver Program?
The B 1/B 2 Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of specified countries to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visitor visa:
United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.
You must not otherwise be ineligible for a US visa, for example due to a criminal record. You must also hold a valid e-passport.
What are the eligibility criteria for the B 2 visa?
To be eligible apply for the B 2 visa, you must evidence that you:
- Are coming to the US solely for pleasure or for medical treatment, and not for other reasons (such as to work or to stay permanently)
- Plan to stay for a limited, specific period of time – and definitely not permanently
- Have a residence (a place to call home) outside the US as well as other binding ties that will assure your return home after your visit
- Have permission to enter a foreign country (probably your own) at the end of your US stay, and
- Have the financial means to pay for your visit to and departure from the US
As part of the application process, you must provide documentary evidence for all of the above.
What if I have further travel plans after I leave the US?
If you intend to travel to a third country after visiting the US, you must evidence that you have a visa or other valid permission to enter that country.
What is the B 2 visa application process?
You will be required to complete Form DS-160, and pay the MRV fee receipt and, where required, a visa reciprocity fee.
Supporting documentation must be submitted with your application to evidence your planned activity during the visit. Documents could include your travel itinerary and proof of accommodation while in the US such as a hotel booking, travel tickets.
Importantly, your supporting documentation should also evidence your intent to depart the US at the end of your visit, such as your flight ticket home, proof of home country residence,evidence of relationships with close family members staying behind (such as birth or marriage certificates).
You must also evidence that you will be able to cover all expenses during your visit, for example, a bank statement showing proof of funds.
You will be required to submit a passport photograph of yourself as well as your current passport, note that it must have an expiry of more than six months after the date you intend to leave the US following your B 2 visit.
What is classed as permitted activity under the B 2 visa?
The B 2 visa class allows for a broad range of activities, from sightseeing and tourism to receiving medical treatment.
The B 2 visa does not however permit any form of employment, working for pay or conducting other business activities. This could include attending trade conventions, giving consultations, selling international products. These activities should fall under the B 1 visa.
If you are planning to combine purpose of your visit to include both business and pleasure-related activity, you may be given a combination B 1/B 2 visa, which allows you to perform both types of activities.
Note also the B 2 visa cannot be used by foreign press or information media. This activity falls under the I visa.
When Is a B-2 Visa Allowed for Medical Treatment?
The B 2 visa can in some circumstances be used to access medical treatment in the US. You will need to prove that:
- You have received a particular medical diagnosis from a local physician, which requires treatment in the US
- A physician or medical facility in the U.S. is willing to treat this ailment, and
- The cost of transportation, treatment and all medical-related expenses have been estimated and someone will take responsibility for covering them.