TOURISM AND/OR BUSINESS
VISAS FOR TOURISM AND/OR BUSINESS
GET TO KNOW THE B1/B2 VISA – FOR TOURISM AND/OR BUSINESS IN THE USA
The B1/B2 visa is the best known and requested American visa. Its nomenclature encompasses two types of visas that for many years have been issued separately: the B1 (business) and the B2 (tourism). It is, therefore, a visa to travel temporarily to the USA, both to visit the country and/or to participate in seminars, workshops, technical visits, conferences and a number of other commercial activities.
Like any temporary visa, B1/B2 does not grant any kind of immigration right or benefit. It also does not allow a person to have a full-time job or study in the U.S.
The maximum validity of a B1/B2 and the maximum length of stay in the U.S. may vary according to the reciprocity of the United States with the applicant’s country of origin. Any violation of the time allowed is considered a serious infraction for the United States and may result in a number of penalties to the infringer ranging from visa cancellation to deportation and permanent ineligibility to enter the country.
Although the vast majority of B1/B2 visa are issued for tourism and/or business, there are specific situations where only the B1 (business) visa is issued, such as in the case of nannies or domestic employees traveling to work in the United States.
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA for B1/B2 APPROVALS?
All B1/B2 visa applicants must demonstrate during an interview with a U.S. consular officer, whether at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, that they do not intend to stay in the country after the permitted time, or take advantage of travel to the United States to engage in activities that do not comply with those authorized by B1/B2 rules, such as working or studying full-time or to misuse U.S. public benefits.
In general, this demonstration is done through proof of financial, family and social ties that the visa applicant has, and that explain why he/she will return to his/her country after the intended trip to the U.S. Among the many documents that can help to demonstrate ties are income taxes, social contracts, real estate certificates, bank or investment statements and a series of other documents that help to demonstrate that the applicant has a sufficiently stable life.
In the case of business travel, it is essential to present an official letter from the employer or entity responsible for the trip explaining the reason for the professional trip that will be performed by the B1/B2 visa applicant.
HOW DOES THE B1/B2 VISA APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?
As with other temporary visas, the first step to apply for a B1/B2 visa is to fill out the DS-160 form and pay the application fee (currently in the amount of $160). All these procedures are done online.
In most cases, it is necessary to initially show up at a visa application service center (CASV) and later at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to where the applicant resides for an interview with a consular officer. However, in many cases of visa renewals, it is only necessary to attend the interview.
On the day scheduled for your appointment you will also need to bring your valid passport, a photo in 5x5cm or 5x7cm, proof of payment of the consular fee and any other documents that the applicant has in order to prove his/her financial, family and social ties, as explained above.
To check the information about the procedures and necessary documents to apply for a business and/or tourism visa (B1/B2), visit the official link from the U.S. visa authorities.
MYTHS AND TRUTHS ABOUT TOURISM aND/OR BUSINESS VISAS TO THE USA
Because it is the most commonly requested visa, there are many popular rumors about the B1/B2. Most of them, however, are incorrect. Check out the main myths and truths when it comes to tourism and/or business in the USA:
“if I put on the form that I have relatives or friends in the U.S. they will deny my visa ” (MYTH) – There is no problem in saying that you have relatives or friends residing, working or studying in the USA. On the contrary; there may be a problem if you do not report this information and the U.S. authorities find out later.
“the qualification of an adult applicant cannot be made on the basis of his/her parents ” (TRUTH) – Starting at 18 years old it is the applicants themselves who must prove they have the requirements to have a visa approved regardless of any financial or professional situation of their parents or other family members or legal representatives. Qualification is always individual.
“Most of the visa applications are denied”. (MYTH) – Although there are countries with a high rate of denials, it is estimated that the average approval rate of U.S. tourist and/or business visas is 70% to 75% of all requests at U.S. Embassies and U.S. Consulates around the world.
“Previous travels to Europe increase the chances of your visa approval” (TRUTH) – Although this alone does not guarantee the approval of a visa, prior travel not only to Europe, but also to developed countries on any continents help to demonstrate to U.S. consular officers that the applicant did not take advantage of these trips to migrate to another country.
“the consulate refused my visa without even looking or asking for documents” (DEPENDS) – Although a hasty assessment of a consular officer may cause him/her to deny a visa without much basis, at most times it is not even necessary to ask for additional documents to reach a conclusion for a visa application. The very information already on the DS-160 form and the U.S. government’s online system may be sufficient in many cases to determine the approval or denial of any visa application.
VISIT THE UNITED STATES!
Apply for your B1/B2 visa to visit the United States! Whether you’re enjoying the theme parks in Orlando, shopping in New York, skiing in Colorado, playing in Las Vegas, driving through California roads, visiting Washington’s museums or many other tourist attractions, traveling to the United States is always a great opportunity to broaden your cultural horizons.
And if you’re interested in one day residing and working legally in the U.S., don’t forget that AG Immigration’s legal department offers a free evaluation of your immigration possibilities for a green card. Contact our team to find what is necessary to achieve your American dream.