The US B-2 tourist visa allows alien nationals to enter the United States for tourism, recreation, medical treatment, or visiting friends and family.
This visa is only temporary, so you will not be able to live or stay in the US for long. If you want to become a permanent resident or have questions about the process, our New Jersey immigration lawyers can help. With over 10 years of experience in immigration cases, our firm can be your great ally.
Applying For The US B-2 tourist Visa In 2023
To apply for the B-2 visa for temporary tourists to the USA, you must follow the next steps:
- Complete Form DS-160 online. You must fill out the section of the B-2 tourist visa for the US detailing the purpose of your visit and then submit it. In addition, you will need to submit a photo that meets the requirements.
- Pay the application fee. The fee is $160. However, depending on the US’s relationship with your home country, you may be required to pay additional fees.
- Schedule the interview. All applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must attend an interview with the US embassy or consulate in their home country. After completing this procedure, they will get a confirmation letter, which they will need to bring to the interview.
- Gather all the necessary documents for the interview. This step consists of attaching the documentation that you must submit at the US embassy or consulate.
- Attend the interview. An official from the US consulate or embassy will ask you a few questions about your background and why you want to come to the US. Your documents will be reviewed at the interview to make sure everything is in order.
The interviews do not usually take long, make sure you do not lie and always speak the truth in advance, revealing the necessary information to avoid any type of immigration problem.
Documents Required To Apply For The B-2 Visa
- Valid passport. It is important that it has at least 6 months of validity to travel.
- Printed form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Receipt of all fees paid on the visa application.
- A letter detailing the purpose of your visit to the US.
- Interview confirmation page.
- A photography. It must be in color, 2×2 inches in size, and taken within the last 6 months.
- Medical exams about your treatment and diagnosis. If you are visiting the US for medical reasons.
- Details of your social networks. In general, a list of your social networks that you use and the name that you have in each of them.
- Evidence of your financial means. It can be your bank statement or financial statements. These funds will be to show that you can cover your expenses in the US.
- A letter from your employer and pay stubs for the last 3 months. In case you are a worker.
- Relations with your country of origin. It can be the employment contract, property deed or lease that justifies that you will return.
- Letter of invitation from American friends or relatives. This letter is optional.
- Criminal record. You can submit a letter from the authorities stating that you do not have a criminal record.
- Photocopies of the status of your relatives in the US. In case you have American relatives.
- Transcripts or diplomas. This requirement only applies to students.
- Relevant documents from your previous visits. Only applies if you have previously visited the US.
Do not attempt to deliver any documents to the official consular officer unless requested to do so.
Eligibility Criteria For The B-2 Visa
To be eligible for the B-2 visa, your purpose of travel to the US must be one of the following:
- Holidays in the United States.
- Visit friends or family.
- Participation in social events created by different organizations.
- Enroll in short courses of study where you will not receive credit. Such as a cooking or drawing course.
- Participate in an event or contest in the US related to music or sports in which there will be no payment or remuneration.
- Obtain medical treatment or medical consultation in the US.
- You want to tour various American cities or visit tourist locations.
If your purpose of travel does not fall into any of these categories, you should search for other types of US visas to see which one you would be eligible for. Additionally, you must have sufficient financial means to cover your expenses in the US and intend to return to your home country.
If you intend to travel to the US for business purposes, you may be eligible for a temporary B-1 business visitor visa.
- Citizens of Canada and Bermuda: They do not require a B-2 visa to enter the United States.
- Citizens of China: You must update your biographical information every 2 years, when obtaining a new passport or B-2 visa. This is done through the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS).
- Residents and citizens of Mexico: You must have a nonimmigrant visa or a Border Crossing Card, also known as the laser visa.
If you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada, you may be eligible for the TN visa.
Do I Need To Apply For The B-2 Before Entering The US?
If you wish to travel to the United States temporarily (and not reside), you may be eligible for a US B-2 tourist visa. However, you may be exempt from this visa if you are an alien national of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
If you belong to VWP, you simply need to apply for ESTA and you can travel to the US without the need for a B-2 visa.
How Many Months Can I Stay In The USA With A Tourist Visa?
In most cases, the officer in charge will grant you a length of stay of up to a maximum of 180 days or 6 months in the US with the B-2 visa. In his passport stamp, the deadline for leaving the country will be indicated.
For land travel, Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, will indicate the day of entry and the due date of departure. You will need to file this form if you plan to travel overland more than 25 miles from the border, or if you will be in the US for 30 days or more.
How Long Is The B-2 Visa Processing Time?
It can take from a few weeks to a few months. The time of the process depends on the workload of the US consulate or embassy.
Duration And Extension Of Stay
The maximum duration allowed is 6 months. In case you need more time to stay in the country, you can apply for an extension of the US B-2 tourist visa for an additional 6 months.
It is important that you request the extension at least 42 days before your I-94 is due. Also, you are not allowed to apply within 3 months of arriving in the US. To apply for the extension, you must submit:
- Form I-539, application to extend or change nonimmigrant status.
- Your current passport.
- A written statement as to why you require the extension of stay.
- Some evidence of financial support.
- Payment of the extension fee ($370).
- Photocopy or original documentation of form I-94.
The processing time for the extension depends on the number of applications USCIS has at the time the extension is requested. Once the extension period ends, you will have to leave the country. Overstaying in the United States on a tourist visa could have immigration consequences for you.
How Is The B-2 Visa Different From The B-1?
The main difference is that B-2 visas are issued for tourist or visiting purposes and not for business. On the other hand, the B-1 category is specifically for business purposes. However, sometimes B1/B2 visas may be issued to cover both purposes.
What Benefits Does The B-1 And B-2 Visa Have?
- Allows entry to the US for business and tourism activities at the same time.
- Cheaper flights are possible, giving you the ability to stop over in the US even if it’s not your final destination.
- It allows you to receive non-academic training courses and participate in conferences or business activities legally.
- Its validity can be up to 10 years.
- You will be able to obtain all the benefits of the B-1 and B-2 visas, such as: visiting friends, relatives, attending medical treatment, holding conferences and so on.
FAQs about The US B-2 Tourist Visa
What Can I Do If I Was Previously Denied A B-2 Visa?
In this case you will have to repeat the entire application process again.
Does My Child Under The Age Of 14 Have To Attend The Visa Interview?
Children under the age of 14 are not required to attend the visa interview at the US embassy or consulate. Parents and/or guardians may bring the required documents to the interview on behalf of the minor.
Can My Parents Visit Me In The US On A B-2 Visa?
If you are a US citizen or resident, your parents will be able to visit you through a B-2 visa. To do this, they must apply for this visa following the process explained above.
If you want to petition to bring your parents to the US, visit our article dedicated to US family-based immigration and specifically the one on US citizen petition for parents.
Can I Get The Green Card With A Tourist Visa?
It is not possible to get a Green Card through the tourist visa, since it is a temporary non-immigrant visa. We insist, you must prove that you will return to your country of origin once your permitted period of stay ends.
Can I Change From My B-2 Visa To Another?
If at any time your plans change while you are in the US—for example, if you want to marry an American or receive a job offer—you can apply to change your status from nonimmigrant to another category through USCIS.
While you remain in the US, changing your status will not require you to apply for a new visa. However, after you leave the US you will need to apply for a new visa at a US consulate or embassy in the appropriate category.
Do Tourists Get Access To Health Care In The US?
Alien nationals entering the US for tourist purposes will not receive free medical care in the country. It is advised that you have international health insurance if you plan to travel frequently outside of your home country.
If your purpose of travel to the United States is for medical treatment, you must have:
- The medical diagnosis explaining the disease and the reason for its treatment in the US.
- A letter from the medical center expressing the will to treat the disease. This letter must explain in detail the cost of the treatment, its duration, the doctor’s fees and other medical expenses.
- A statement from the individuals or organizations sponsoring medical expenses, support and transportation.
Can I Attend School Or Work On A B-2 Visa?
You cannot attend academic studies or work on a B-2 visa in the United States. To engage in such activities, you may be eligible to apply for an F-1 student visa or an H-1B or H-2B employment visa, for example.
In case you do not have the necessary papers to work, visit our article dedicated to how to get a job while being illegal in the US.
How Curbelo Law Will Help You Process The B-2 Visa
The US B-2 tourist visa is one of the most requested visas for the United States, as well as one in which the most applications are rejected. Most applicants seek this visa to carry out an activity for another purpose than the one authorized in the United States.
In addition, some aliens take advantage of this visa to stay and live illegally in the country.
Our lawyer has more than 10 years experience in this type of cases and procedures. Only knowing the circumstances and facts that surround your case can we give you more details about your chances of getting this visa. Call us today and let our team of latino experts well versed on US immigration laws guide you through the process.