As with all other nonimmigrant visas, visitor visas allow foreign nationals to enter the United States for a specified, temporary period of time and for a specific purpose, in this case for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2), or a combination of both (B-1/B-2).
A visitor on a B-1 visa may engage in a number of legitimate temporary business activities including consulting with business associates, attending a scientific, educational, professional or business convention or conference, settling an estate, negotiating a contract, or participating in short-term training. A visitor on a B-2 visa may come to the United States for many purposes including tourism, vacation, visits with family or friends, medical treatment, or participation in certain social events or amateur sporting or musical events.
To qualify for a visitor visa, you must sufficiently demonstrate that (1) the purpose of your trip to the United States is temporary and for either business or pleasure, (2) you plan to remain in the United States only for a specific, limited time period, (3) you will be able to pay for all of your travel expenses and costs of your stay in the United Sates, and (4) you maintain a residence outside the United States which you do not intend to abandon and other ties that guarantee you will leave the United States at the end of your authorized visit. Those applying for a visa for the purpose of seeking medical treatment in the United States will also need to provide documentation of a medical diagnosis and the reason treatment must be sought in the United States, a letter from a physician or hospital in the United States that indicates they are willing to provide the necessary treatment and the projected period and cost of that treatment, and proof of financially ability to pay for that treatment and all expenses while in the United States.
It is important to understand that under U.S. immigration laws every visitor to the United States is presumed to be an intending immigrant, rather than a nonimmigrant coming to the United States for only a limited time. Therefore, when applying for a visitor visa, it is your burden to prove that it is only your intent to remain in the United States for a specified period of time and for a specific purpose.
Once your visa application has been approved by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country, upon entering the United States, an immigration official will confirm your eligibility for admission and also determine your initial authorized period of stay, which can be anywhere from one (1) month to a maximum of six (6) months. If you need to stay longer than that, you will need to apply to extend your stay for up to six additional months.
Although B-1 and B-2 visa holders are permitted to enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in a variety of activities while in the United States, there are also a number of activities that are prohibited and could lead not only to the cancellation of your visa but also the denial of future immigration benefits. These prohibited activities include the following: study, employment, paid performances, arrival as a crewmember on a ship or airplane, work as a foreign press, radio, journalist, or other media official, and permanent residence in the United States (remaining in the United States longer than authorized).
To apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa, visit the U.S. Department of State website. If you are already in the United States on a B-1 or B-2 visa and would like to extend your stay, please call or visit the offices of RaslanPla & Company, LLC and speak to one of our immigration attorneys.