The B-visa category is one of the most commonly used visa categories. If you are interested in visiting the United States for business or pleasure, the B-Visa can help you accomplish this goal. Stays in the U.S. under the B-Visa are usually brief and involve touring, visiting family members, getting health care, or doing business for an overseas employer.

Please note: There is no guarantee that a person will qualify for a B-1 or B-2 visa.

There are two types of non-immigrant B-Visas available for individuals who wish to visit the United States:

B-1 Visa: The B-1 visa is for individuals who want to visit the United States temporarily for business purposes. For example, those attending conferences, establishing business relations in the United States, obtaining medical treatment, or accompanying a family member who requires medical care. B-1 visitors will generally be approved for a stay of not more than three months. Furthermore, a B-1 holder may successfully apply for adjustment of status to an immigrant visa in certain situations.

Note: It is illegal for a person to enter the U.S. with a B-Visa and engage in employment or receive a salary from a U.S. employer.

B-1 holders may change status to another immigrant status, like J-1, F-1, or B-2. However, one should be very cautious when changing from B-1 status to another non-immigrant status. USCIS frowns upon using the B category as a stepping-stone to a different non-immigrant status to avoid application procedures associated with the new status.

B-2 Visa: The B-2 visa is for individuals who wish to temporarily visit the United States for pleasure, such as visiting family or friends. B-2 visitors are generally granted stays for six months, even if they intend to stay for shorter periods. Sometimes, under some circumstances, the officer at the port of entry may grant an applicant less time to remain in the United States.

What Is The Application Process For A B-Visa?

If you consider a B-Visa, you should apply for a visa in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you permanently reside. Since the demand for B-Visas is generally high, it may take a long time for the Consulate to review your documents or provide you an interview date. In summary, it is essential to apply for your B-Visa before your planned date of entry into the United States.

The first step in applying for the B-Visa is to make an appointment with the Consulate that serves your state or territory in your home country. You can learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview with the Consulate, pay the application processing fee, review embassy-specific instructions, and much more by visiting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.

Is There An Interview And/Or Fingerprinting Required For A B-Visa?

Yes. In most circumstances, the Consulate will interview all applicants for a B-Visa.

During the visa application process, usually at the interview phase, the Consulate will also scan your fingerprints.

B-Visa Interview Tips

It is strongly recommended that B-Visa applicants be very well dressed, have the proper documents, and conduct themselves in a highly professional manner at their visa interview. The most common errors that usually lead to the denial of a B-Visa are improper attire and/or etiquette, failure to listen and answer questions correctly, submitting fraudulent documents before the Consulate, and being impolite during the interview process.

More importantly, it is the applicant’s burden to establish that they will return to their home country before the expiration of their stay in the U.S. People are often denied a visa because they cannot establish that they will return to their home country. The burden of proof is entirely upon the applicant to show that he or she will come back to his or her home country after visiting the U.S.

What Do I Need To Prove To Obtain A Visa Under The B-Visa Category?

As a B-Visa applicant, you will have to show the following:

  1. Your visit will be temporary and for a specified duration;
  2. You intend to depart from the U.S. before the expiration of your authorized stay;
  3. You have a valid passport in your possession;
  4. You will maintain a foreign residence that you do not intend to abandon. The documents for this include:
    – Proof that you own property
    – Prior tax returns
    – Proof of employment
    – Letters from children’s schools
  5. You have adequate financial arrangements to support yourself during your stay in the U.S.;
  6. You are admissible to the U.S. or have obtained a waiver for any ground of inadmissibility;

Can I Bring My Family With Me On My B-Visa?

There is no derivative status for family members of current B nonimmigrant visa holders. That means each family member must independently qualify for a B-Visa. For example, a spouse of a B-1 business visitor may be eligible for B-2 status if he or she is accompanying or looking to join the B-1 spouse.


Ordinarily, a foreign national has to obtain a nonimmigrant visa, such as the B-Visa, before entering the United States. However, by participating in the Visa Waiver Program, citizens of the countries mentioned below may apply for admission to the United States without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa. Foreign nationals may apply for ninety days or less for business or pleasure, provided they are otherwise eligible under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.


DenmarkEstoniaCzech Republic
MonacoNew ZealandNorway
PortugalSan MarinoSingapore
SlovakiaSloveniaSouth Korea
TaiwanUnited Kingdom 

If you intend to enter the United States for business or pleasure, the B-Visa can assist you in accomplishing your mission. Due to the great demand for B-Visas, it is strongly recommended that you allow ample time for your application to be processed. While it is relatively easy to obtain a B-Visa, please note that there is no guarantee that a person will qualify for a B-1 or B-2 visa at all times either.