When an individual would like to travel to the U.S. for pleasure a B-2 visa may be an option. The visa allows the applicant to enter the U.S. for tourism, to visit family members and/or perform other recreational tasks. The category is very broad and has a number of different permitted activities. A B-2 visa does not give the applicant the right to work in the U.S..
In order to qualify for a B-2 visa the applicant must intend to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis for tourism or related activities and must maintain a residence abroad that they intend to return to. When applying for the visa, the applicant should bring proof of ties to their home country, evidence of financial resources, a return airline ticket and a description of the purpose of the visit.
If the applicant is outside of the U.S., a DS-160 application must be completed and the applicant must attend an interview at the consulate. Most interviews can be scheduled online and the wait times for interviews are generally short. Once the visa is granted, the consulate may take up to 5 days to process the visa and put it in your passport. It is important to show ties to your home country. (eg. Job, home, bank statement, family). If the applicant is in the U.S. and wants to change status to a B-1, a petition must be filed in the U.S. (I-129 or I-539) and an interview is not required. If the form is filed prior to the expiration of the I-94, the applicant can stay until the petition has been adjudicated.
How long does the Visa last for?
A B-2 visa can be issued for up to 10 years depending on the country that the applicant is from. For example, if the applicant is from Spain, the visa can be granted for up to 10 years. Even if the B-1 visa is granted for a long period of time, the maximum amount of time that an applicant can stay in the U.S. after entering on a B-2 visa is 6 months. When you enter, the border officials may only stamp your passport and issue an I-94 for a shorter period of time, depending on the reason you give them for entering. You should also keep in mind that a visa does not guarantee access to the U.S.
How are Family Members Treated?
Immediate family members can also apply for a B visa along with the primary applicant but the applications are separate.
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