How To Apply For Visitor Visas — Business and Tourism Trip — to The United States of America

Immigration Reads Nov 01, 2017

Excerpt —

Challenging part is getting "The Burden of Proof" right and responsibility squarely rest on the Applicant and Sponsor. But, with careful planning, one can get B1/B2 visas quickly.

Introduction —

Entry into the United States requires valid visas either for a temporary nonimmigrant stay or someone seeking a permanent residence in this country. Based on the type and duration of your visit, you may have to ask different visa categories from the USCIS catalog.

Visitor visas considered nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to stay either temporarily for business (B1), tourism (B2), or a combination of both (B1/B2).

Eligibility —

You may be eligible for a business (B1) or visitor visa for business and pleasure (B1/B2), If you are going to participate in any allowed activities inside the USA.

And business visit must be limited to doing the following legitimate activities —

  1. Consulting, training, negotiating contracts, etc. - these activities should not result in direct earning or can be considered as working.
  2. Other than business-related purposes, people who are transit through the USA and crew members of air and ship eligible to seek B-1 Visa.
  3. Change of nonimmigrant status - In case if someone wants to switch from another nonimmigrant visa to B1 for continued stay.

If an individual wish to perform outside of these activities, then they may have to look at other temporary nonimmigrant work visas.

Similarly, Tourism visits must not involve ANY activities for getting paid either directly or indirectly.

Other than spending time as pure vacations, an individual can travel in these visas can attend social events, unpaid amateurs competition, and recreational courses — as long as such education is not awarding any credit towards a degree, etc.

The Burden of Proof —

An applicant has to prove while seeking a business visa their eligibility for submitting sufficient evidence for the following.

  1. Purpose of the trip to the USA is legitimate
  2. Your plan and duration of the stay inside the country.
  3. Financial ability to self-fund the trip and personal expenses during the stay
  4. You are not overstaying risk - that you have family in the home country, which demands your return after the end of your business trip and no intention of abandoning.
  5. Your overall record is clean for admission into this country.

Application Process —

There are many steps involved starting with applying a visa application to the local US consulate and preparing all the supporting documents to verify the "Burden of Proof" outlined above.

Some of them are involved in filing out pages and pages of the online portal application, and others are preparing and getting attested affidavit forms.

Here is the check list —

  1. Filing DS-160 — Sales Pitch; If you are looking for help in this, contact us via our twitter @renttheant DM.
  2. Getting the Photograph ready according to these USCIS requirements
  3. I-134, If someone already in the USA sponsoring the applicant.
  4. Invite letter from Sponsor, outlining the reasons for applicant visit - make it as much personal and compelling as possible
  5. Scheduling interview with your country — US embassy or consulate. Here is the link to locate your nearby immigration office per country
  6. No Interview Exception — There are some exceptions, from appearing for an interview, extended by law based on the applicant's age — "13 or Younger," "80 and Older" comes under this category.

Fees —

Visitor visas considered non-petition based application processing, and it attracts 160 dollar non-refundable fees to consider your application.

Using Visa to Stay —

Once you have obtained a visitor visa in your passport (B1/B2), you are free to make arrangements for your travel.

At the port of entry, immigration officials should process your entry into the United States and provide a duration of stay that required for your stated purpose of the given visit.

That initial duration may be from less than a month to six months. However, if you wish to stay beyond that, then there is a process to request for "Extend Your Stay." Asking that usually involves filling out the Form I-539, You can do that online and find more information on this link.


Exception —

  1. For certain countries, the requirement of visa eligibility is relaxed to enter into the United States. As of 2020, DHS permits citizens of 39 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.
  2. You can find more information on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) here.
  3. Family members of valid B1 visa holders are not eligible to seek a dependent visa.
  4. Domestic and personal servants of legal visa holders or US citizens will require additional needs to satisfy before commencing their work legally.

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