If you want to temporarily visit the United States for pleasure, you should apply for a B-2 tourist visa. Please note that if you qualify for ESTA, you can come to the U.S. as a Visa Waiver Visitor.
Do I have to have a residence abroad when applying for a B-2 visa? Do I have to demonstrate that I have ties to my home country? What factors does the Consular Officer consider at the interview?
Because B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for temporary visitors, the Consular Officer will look at the following factors when adjudicating your visa application:
- Do you have a residence in a foreign country which you do not intend to abandon?
Residence is defined as your principal, actual dwelling in fact, without regard to intent. You should be able to demonstrate that you have a permanent employment, business or financial connections, and family/social/cultural ties in a foreign country. You should bring the supporting documents to the visa interview.
- Do you intent to enter the U.S. for a period of specifically limited duration?
During the visa interview, you will have to demonstrate that you are coming to the U.S. for a limited period of time and that the period of time is consistent with the purpose of your trip and you have specific and realistic plans for the visit.
- Do you plan to engage only in the activities permitted on a B2 visa?
If the officer believes that you will engage in unlawful or criminal activities while in the U.S. on a B-2 visa, he may deny your visa application.
What activities are permitted in the U.S. on B-2 visa?
- Tourism (for example, you can come to the U.S. on a road-trip)
- Visiting your family or friends in the U.S.
- Obtaining medical treatment. You will have to show that a medical practitioner in the U.S. agreed to treat you and you will have to show that you have means to pay for the cost of treatment, incidental expenses (transportation, living expenses etc.).
- Participating in social events, such as conventions, conferences, or convocation or fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Engaging in a short course of study during your visit
- You are a dependent of and you are coming to the U.S. to accompany a “D” visa crewman
- You are a dependent of an alien member of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces
- You are an amateur entertainer or athlete and you normally perform without remuneration. Please note that if you normally compensated for performing (even if you would perform in the U.S. without compensation), you cannot qualify for a B-2 visa.
Can I come to the U.S. on B-2 visa if I want to give birth so my child can obtain a U.S. citizenship?
You cannot come to the U.S. on a B-2 visa if your primary purpose is to give birth in the U.S. so your child can obtain a U.S. citizenship. If the officer has a reason to believe that you will give birth while in the U.S. on a B-2 visa, the officer will presume that your primary purpose of visit is to obtain a U.S. citizenship for your child.
What if I have a medically complicated pregnancy and a specialized care is not available in my home country?
If you have a medically complicated pregnancy, and a specialized care is not available in your home country, you can rebut the presumption that your primary purpose of visit is to obtain a U.S. citizenship for your child. You will have to show to the officer that you have already arranged for a specialized medical care in the U.S. as such care is not available in your home country or near the country where you live.
Please note that if you want to come to the U.S. as a business visitor, you should apply for a B-1 visa or if you are eligible for an ESTA, you should enter the U.S. as a business visitor. Please see our blog post discussing what activities are permitted on B-1 visa when you click here and here.
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