Business or pleasure, what's your choice. The B-2 visa is the ideal entry pass for tourists interested in seeing the many splendorous sites of the U.S. The B-2 Visa is issued for pleasure trips for a brief period of time, and may also be granted to spouses, children and parents of B-1 Visa holders.
So what, officially, is the definition of the term, 'pleasure'? The State Department defines the term as legitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits to friends and/or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a social or service nature.
The B-2 Visa can also be used by foreign students wishing to visit or tour U.S. schools prior to enrollment. You should make sure to inform the embassy or consulate of your intentions when you receive the B-1 Visa. You may then be able to change your status at a later time without leaving the U.S.
You may apply for a B-2 visa at the American Embassy or Consulate in your region or nation. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult. You can apply at the Consular Office of the Embassy or Consulate General nearest your residence, or use one of the following options:
- Authorized travel agencies: Travel agencies approved by the U.S. Embassy in your region or nation may submit visa applications for you.
- The VIP Business Program: Your enterprise can register with the VIP Business Program if it repeatedly sends employees to the U.S. Your appearance may be waived, if your application was submitted by an approved business.
- By drop box: Individuals who travel extensively, or have recently received a validated visa, may use the drop box in the embassy or consulate. Applications at drop boxes should be completed before traveling.
You may still need to apply in person. Further, there may be delays in this process due to cross-checking information at the Washington, D.C. database.
To apply for a B-2 Visa, you must supply the following documents:
- A filled-in visa application Form OF-156.
- Two recent photographs 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
- A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
You may also be asked to provide the following documents:
- Evidence showing the purpose of your trip. You may show a letter sent by the company explaining the purpose and length of the trip. You may also show letters from relatives or friends that you intend to visit.
- If you are traveling to the U.S. for medical purposes, you should have a statement from a doctor or medical institution about your treatment.
- A copy of a tour itinerary.
- Proof of your intention to leave the U.S. after a temporary visit. Round-trip air tickets will show intent to return to your home country.
- Proof that arrangements have been made to cover the cost of your trip. An affidavit of support may be required for children who are traveling.
- If you do not have enough funds to support yourself while in the U.S., you must provide evidence that an interested person will provide support.
- You may also provide evidence that establishes your ties with the sponsor.