The B Visitor visa category allows visitors to travel to the USA for the purpose of business or tourism. The B-1 Visitor visa is for those who wish to enter the US solely for business and the B-2 visa is for those entering the USA solely for tourism. Often, a person’s activity in the US will involve a mix of business and tourism and therefore a Consular Officer may issue the visa as a combined B-1/B-2 visa so the applicant can engage in both business and tourism activities.
The Law Office of Janice Flynn does not provide general advice and basic services regarding travelling to the USA for tourism. For information regarding travelling visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program please refer to the US Customs and Border Protection website and the basic information about the Visa Waiver Program in the following paragraphs.
If you need to apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa and only require basic information regarding the requirements and procedures for this visa, please contact your local US Embassy or Consulate.
Most British, Irish and other European country passport holders may enter the US for up to 90 days a trip for the purpose of business or tourism.
In general, a person will need a B Visitor visa to enter the US if one of the following applies:
- You hold a passport from a country that does not participate in the US Visa Waiver Program, or
- You are a national of a Visa Waiver Program but you cannot enter the US because: 1) you have a criminal conviction for certain offences or are a drug abuser or addict, 2) you have violated US immigration law, 3) you have been refused entry into the US or 4) you have been denied travel authorization via ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
If you are a national of the Visa Waiver Program and are applying for a B Visitor visa and are not restricted from travelling under ESTA, you will be required to demonstrate to a Consular Officer that your proposed activity in the United States is solely for short business trips or tourism (ie that you do not intend to work in the USA), you have substantial ties to your home country and financial ability to support your trip to the United States. The personal interview at the embassy or consulate bears a lot of weight on the Consular Officer’s decision.
B Visitor Visa and E-2 Investors: Often, those who wish to travel to the US on a B Visitor visa to investigate the development or purchase of a business in the US that would serve as the basis of a future E-2 Treaty Investor visa application must travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program as that period of 90 days per visit should provide ample amount of time to research businesses and markets in the United States. This is particularly true for B Visitor visa applicants applying at the Embassy in London or the US Consulate in Belfast.
Criteria for the US Visitor Visa
When a person applies for a B-1 Visitor visa at an Embassy or Consulate he or she must demonstrate that the activity in which they intend to participate in the USA meets the requirements of the visa category (ie, visiting for business or tourism) and the applicant:
- has a residence and life are based in a foreign country,
- has no intention of abandoning that foreign residence, and
- will visit the US temporarily.
To apply for a B-1 Visitor visa you must appear for an interview at a local Embassy or Consulate and will be required to explain the purpose of the proposed trip to the USA and demonstrate substantial ties to your home country, including a home or a job to return to after the brief trip to the US. The verbal interview is a very important part of the application process but the applicant may bring documentation to demonstrate the purpose of the US visit and their ties to their home country.
Various Types of B-1 Business Visitor Visas
There are many types of B-1 Business visas that allow foreign nationals to enter the US to engage in various activities. The B-1 in Lieu of H-1B visa is an example of a type of B-1 Business Visitor visa.
B-1 in Lieu of H-1B: This visa allows certain employees of foreign countries to enter the US who would otherwise qualify for the H-1B Professional Worker visa but do not have a US employer. An applicant for this type of visa will need to show they are employed by a foreign employer and must go to the US to provide professional services to a customer or client in the US and that the person has the equivalent of a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree in a specific field. The applicant may not receive a salary or remuneration other than an expense or allowance or other reimbursements from a US company.
The information above is for informational purposes only and is no indication of the likelihood of success or whether a person is admissible to the US.
Do you need the help of a US immigration lawyer?
If you require specific advice on whether you are eligible to visit the US, please call our office at +44 (0)20 7092 6830 to initially speak to a lawyer.