Foreign nationals who wish to come to visit the United States as tourists and/or to visit with family and friends may obtain a B-2 visitors visa from the United States Consulate in their country. Individuals may also qualify for the B-2 visa if they are coming to the United States to seek medical treatment. Certain countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program are exempt from obtaining a visa stamp in their passport before departing for the United States. To see if you qualify under the Visa Waiver Program you may check if your country of nationality is included on the U.S. State Department’s list of countries eligible under the Visa Waiver Program at the following link: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html.
In order to qualify for a B-2 visa, the foreign national must show that s/he is not intending to immigrate to the United States. The individual must demonstrate that s/he is coming to the United States for recreational purposes. This means that the individual must indicate the amount of time they plan to spend in the United States, where they plan on traveling and if they are meeting with people, what their relation is to them. The Consular Officer will likely want to know if the foreign national has traveled to the United States before, if so, how many times, under what type of visa and whether the individual departed the United States when they indicated.
B-2 visa holders are not permitted to work in the United States.
How to Apply
Foreign nationals who wish to visit the United States, with the exception of individuals who qualify under the Visa Waiver Program, must apply at the American Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their residence for the B-2 visa.
If the consular officer denies the B-2 visa, the individual may apply again if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. In the absence of new evidence, consular officers are not obliged to re-examine the application.
If the consular officer issues the B-2 visa, the foreign national next faces inspection at a U.S. port of entry, such as an airport. Upon inspection, the Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBP), will ask the foreign national some questions about the purpose and duration of his or her trip. Based on the answers given, the Customs and Border Protection Officer will stamp the I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Card) with the time that he or she determines to be fair and reasonable to complete the visit.
The maximum period of stay is one year. Often, the CBP Officer at the port of entry will grant six months or less depending on the answers given by the foreign national. Extensions of the B-2 visa may be granted in increments of six months, and may be obtained without leaving the United States. Note, such extensions must be filed before the I-94 card expires with evidence as to why an extension is being requested. Please contact our office for assistance in filing for an extension.