Tips for Getting a B Visa: Preparing for Your Consular Interview
This guide is to give first-time business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visitors to the United States an idea of the visa application process ending in a consular interview at a U.S. embassy. Although working with an immigration attorney is always advised, this guide provides a general DIY overview.
Step 1: Complete the Online ApplicationThe first step towards a U.S. visitor's visa is the completion of the online Form DS-160. The form must be completed in its entirety and any missing fields will be noted. An immigration attorney can assist you with the form but you must personally submit the form online. Upon completion and submission of the form, you will receive a DS-160 confirmation number.
Step 2: Pay the Visa Application FeeThe second step is to pay the visa application fee online according to applicable country-specific instructions. You must create an account and enter your DS-160 confirmation number to proceed. Currently, the B-1/B-2 application fee is US$160. After submitting payment, you can then self-schedule your consular appointment at the U.S. embassy with jurisdiction over your principal place of residence.
Step 3: Attend Your Consular InterviewThe final step is to attend the self-scheduled consular interview. Generally, each interview lasts less than five minutes and takes place through a glass partition. With such a short period of time to make your case, it is very important to gather together and carry with you to the interview all supporting documentation relevant to various grounds of eligibility - (a) having a residence in a foreign country, which you do not intend to abandon, (b) intending to enter the United States for a period of specifically limited duration, and (c) seeking admission for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure - and inadmissibility - most notably, the non-existence of any (1) criminal background ("crimes involving moral turpitude"), (2) public charge threat, or (3) immigrant intent. B-1 applicants must plan to limit themselves to permissible activities, including engaging in commercial transactions, which do not involve gainful employment in the United States; negotiating contracts; consulting with business associates; litigating; participating in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or undertaking independent research. Those coming to the United States to perform skilled or unskilled labor are specifically excluded from the B-1 classification. At the end of the interview, the consular officer will take your passport and return it to you with the visa stamp - generally, within one week.