B - Visitors for business or pleasure (B-1/B-2 information)
B1/B2 visas are nonimmigrant visas and must be applied for by submitting a completed and signed Form DS-156 together with a valid passport. Other documents, which may be required along with this, are mentioned below.
The State Department has introduced an updated Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form (DS-156). The updated DS-156 includes additional questions, a dedicated space on the form for a 1-D barcode sticker and has been redesigned with certain improvements.
B-1 / Business visas
The B-1 or Business Visitor's Visa is a permit issued by the U.S. Govt. to a foreigner who intends to enter the U.S. for such period of time as may be necessary to conduct and conclude a 'business activity'. Such foreigners, entering the U.S. in this category, may do so, provided, their objective is to participate in a legitimate activity.
Over the years, the common basis to evaluate the proposed business activity as 'International' has generally been held to be as follows:
- An obvious intention displayed by the foreigner to carry on residing at his foreign residence;
- The place where the profits will accumulate and the principal place of business are in a foreign country;
- The foreigner is paid a remuneration from outside the U.S.;
- The foreigner is a business person or, if employed, is pursuing an activity in furtherance of international trade or commerce; and
- The foreigner's intent to stay in the U.S. is of a temporary nature, even if the business activity is not.
The FAM also declares that B-1 status would also be available to a foreigner who is entering the U.S. to:
- take part in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars:
- consult business associates;
- discuss contracts;
- carry out independent research;
- participate in such commercial transactions which do not involve profitable employment in the U.S.
B-2 / Tourist Visas
The B-2 or Tourist Visitor's Visa is a permit issued by the U.S. Govt. to a foreigner who intends to enter the U.S. for a short period of time for the purpose of a holiday. Persons in this category are usually given a period of entry of six months, but this is at the discretion of the INS officer at the port-of-entry and he/she may grant a lesser period if he/she thinks fit. Permission to stay longer than six months would be granted only under special circumstances.
There are five basic requirements for being granted this visa:
- The alien is entering the U.S. for a limited duration and will depart at the end of a temporary visit.
- The alien maintains a foreign residence that he/she has no intention of abandoning while in the U.S.
- The alien has adequate financial arrangements to travel to, sojourn in and depart from the U.S.
- The alien will engage solely in activities relating to pleasure.
- The alien will not engage in employment of any kind in the U.S.