How to obtain a visitors or business visa ( B1/B2 visas) to enter the United States?

Shah Iqbal Nawaaz Peerally

Written by

Immigration Attorney - Newark, CA

Contributor Level 19

Posted almost 5 years ago. 6 helpful votes



What is a B Visa and Who Qualifies?

The B1 and B2 nonimmigrant category is classified as B-1 for business visitors and B-2 for tourism visitors. To be eligible for a visitor visa, you would need i) to demonstrate a purpose for your stay in the US, ii) prove that your stay will be temporary.


Purpose and Who Qualifies

The purpose of your stay can be established with a personal statement and documentation from third parties, which varies depending on whether you are seeking to visit as a business visitor or a tourism visitor. If you are coming to the US for business, a letter from your foreign employer should be sufficient. If you are coming to the US to visit a relative or friend in the US, a letter from such person may be presented. In the business context, you mare enter the US to inspect and make investments, or perform work in furtherance of your foreign employer, or even give lectures at a university, but you may not engage in any US employment activities. In the tourism context, if you are not seeking to visit anyone in particular, and would just like to sightsee, you should prove that you have enough financial ability to finance your trip.


Telling your true intentions

Anyone seeking admission to the US to visit potential schools should express that they are a prospective student when they apply for the visa so that they may change status to F-1 in the US. If this intent is not expressed, a change of status is likely to be rejected. To prove that you intend to only stay in the US for a temporary period of time, you would have to establish ties to your home country, which would include proof that you have close members of your family in your home country, a job waiting on your return, and property.


When can I Obtain a B1/B2 Visa?

Premium processing, in which the application will be processed within 15 calendar days, is not available in B-1 or B-2 applications. The processing time varies. USCIS provides a wait-time schedule. If an initial visa is sought, the consulate can schedule an appointment for you in short order


What are the Advantages and Limitations of a B1/B2 Visa?

The B visa can be obtained more quickly at consulates or embassies than any other visa, and are multipurpose. You can eventually get a 10-year B1/B2 visa, instead of a 6 month visa. The department of state instructs consular officers to give applicants the maximum amount of time possible based on reciprocity. For Indian citizens, a maximum of 10 years can be granted. Usually, the first time one applies for a visitor visa, it will be for 6 months, and on the second time, the officer is more likely to give the full 10-year visa. A limitation of B visa status is that extensions of status in the US are difficult to obtain. In the event that an individual seeks an extension, and stays beyond their I-94 end date, and the extension is later denied, the 10-year visa will be revoked.


May I Apply for a Green Card while on a B Visa?

It is possible, but of course, you must have had the intent not to immigrate at the time of admission. This is a complicated issue, and varies depending on various circumstances. If an individual is seeking to apply for adjustment of status after admission on a B-1/B-2 visa, it is important to seek guidance from an attorney to assess the risks and determine situations where it is safe to apply. As a general rule of thumb, a visitor should not do anything inconsistent with non-immigrant intent within 60 days as this creates a rebuttable presumption of fraud at the time of admission, and most certainly not less than 30 days since that creates a presumption of fraud.


Visa Waivers Programs

As for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrants, INA 245(c)(4) allows them to file for adjustment of status, but be aware that the government may remove such VWP overstayer without removal proceedings except if you are in the 9th Circuit and the adjustment of status is filed before the VWP expires according to case law precedents.


Why Hire an Attorney to Prepare an B visa Application?

Generally, it is not very important to have an attorney assist you in preparing documentation to request a B visa from a consulate or embassy. If an application is rejected, it is easy to reapply and correct any problems initially encountered. In the case of preparing a change of status or extension of status application, an attorney can be helpful to save some time. To discuss B visas and other alternatives with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Shah Peerally Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at 510-742-5887. Our staff is multi-lingual, with members who speak Spanish, French, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Tigrigna, and Amharic.



Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the website publisher. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Feel free to check our website to read more about marriage petitions.

Additional Resources

Check our website for more guides and articles

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

25,019 answers this week

2,810 attorneys answering