Complete Guide to US B2 Visa for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals who are planning to enter the United States must first obtain a US visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for individuals wishing to live permanently in the United States. Individuals who want to visit the United States temporarily for business or tourism purposes need to apply for a US visitor visa i.e. B1 visa for business and B2 visa for tourism, or a combination of B1/B2 visa for both purposes and pay the US visa application fee accordingly. This article covers the aspects of the US B2 visa.

Complete Guide to US B2 Visa for Foreign Nationals
Complete Guide to US B2 Visa for Foreign Nationals

What is a B2 Visa?

Since there are about 185 different US visa types, it is vital to know that each comes with its own rules and policy, like an H1B visa is issued for employment in the US. A B2 visa, also referred to as a tourist visa for the USA, is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign citizens to enter the US for tourism, pleasure, medical treatment, or to visit family and friends. The B2 visa is commonly known as the US tourist visa. 

A US tourist visa holder may engage in the following activities while his/her stay in the United States:

  • Holiday in the United States
  • Travel in the different cities and attractions of the United States
  • Visit with friends or relatives
  • Medical treatment in the US
  • Participation in social events held by social, or service organizations
  • Participation in contests and/or events related to music, sports, or similar events or contests, for which you won’t be paid
  • Enrollment in a short recreational course of study for which you won’t be receiving any credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class, dance classes, etc. while on vacation, )

Eligibility Criteria for the US B-2 Visa

As per the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), applicants need to prove to the consular officer that they qualify for the visa. Here are the basic eligibility criteria you need to fulfill to apply for a US B2 visa.

  • Submit the evidence of the purpose of visiting the United States.
  • Share your plan to stay in the US for a limited period as allowed by the B2 visa.  
  • Prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your entire stay in the United States.  
  • Convince the consular officer that you will return to your own country and have no intention of staying permanently in the US when your trip ends. 

Documents Required for B2 Visa

Here are the documents required for a US B2 visa application and at the time of interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. 

  • Interview confirmation letter.
  • Valid passport.
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page and code.
  • Receipt of paid visa fees.
  • Photos meeting the US visa photo requirements.
  • Financial documents including current income proof, ITR, business ownership proof, property or assets.
  • Travel itinerary and other details for your US trip.
  • Employment letter that includes your designation, salary, employment period, authorized vacation, etc. 
  • Documents related to your prior visits, only if you visited the US before.
  • Criminal records or letters from authorities stating that you don’t have any criminal record presently. It has to be provided even if you have completed your sentence period or were pardoned.

Specific documents depending on the applicant visiting the United States:  

  • Students should bring their recent school results, diplomas/degrees and transcript with them at the time of visa interview. Financial proof such as bank statements, FD slips, etc. is also required.
  • Working adults should get a letter from the employer and their salary slips for the past 3 months.
  • Individuals visiting their relatives in the US should bring a copy of their relative’s status proof, such as a copy of a valid visa, Green Card, Naturalization certificate, etc.  

Foreign nationals who wish to visit the US for medical treatment need to share the following documents:

  • Medical diagnosis from the local doctor explaining the nature of the illness and the reason for treatment in the US. 
  • A letter from the doctor or medical facility provider in the US where the treatment will take place. Details of the cost of the treatment including doctor’s fee, hospital and other medical expenses, and the expected duration should be mentioned in this letter. 
  • If the treatment is being sponsored by someone else or an organization, a declaration by them stating that they will pay the medical, transportation and living expenses. The sponsors need to provide financial documents such as bank statements, savings/income statements or a copy of income tax returns to prove that they can bear this cost. 

How to Apply for B2 Visa

You can complete the US visa application online as well as offline. Follow the below-mentioned steps to apply for a B-2 visa:

  • Fill up the DS-160 form to apply for the visa online. Go through the guidelines and provide accurate information. 
  • You have to upload your photo while completing the online application. Ensure your photo is in the required format. 
  • Before submitting the form, read the information you have provided. Once you submit it, you can’t make changes. Take a print of the confirmation receipt.  
  • Pay the visa fee. Print a copy of the payment confirmation page.

Schedule the visa interview 

  • To schedule an appointment, you have to log on to the visa page and click the ‘Schedule Appointment’ link present on the left menu of the dashboard.  
  • Schedule 2 appointments – for the interview at the Consulate or Embassy and for the Visa Application Center (VAC). 
  • The appointment with VAC for the photo and fingerprint scan process should be completed one day before the visa interview. 
  • You have to share your passport number, the date on which you paid the fee and a 10-digit barcode number mentioned on the DS-160 form confirmation page. 
  • You need to take the following documents with you for the appointment with VAC:
    • Passport valid for at least 6 months after your intended stay time in the United States. 
    • If two or more members are included in your passport, each one has to submit a visa application.
    • DS-160 form confirmation page.
    • Letter/page of appointment.
    • One photo in compliance with the United States visa specification, if the applicant is below 14 years old.
  • For the interview at the Consulate or Embassy, you need to bring all the required documents. Reach the interview center 30 minutes prior to the interview.  

Also Read: Visa Status: Check Visa Status with Passport Number

Indian Passport for NRI: Renewal vs Reissue

You can contact US Embassy in India for any queries regarding US B1/B2 visa. If you’re looking for any assitance for NRI services such as NRI account opening, NRI Demat account, NRI investment or taxation, experts at SBNRI can help you out with everything. Download SBNRI App from the Google Play Store or App Store to ask any questions related to NRI services. Also visit our blog and Youtube Channel for more details.

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What is a B1/B2 visa?

B1 and B2 visas are the most common types of visas issued to non-US citizens who want to visit the United States. B1 visa is issued to individuals who wish to enter the US for short-term business trips, while the B2 visa is granted for tourism purposes. Applicants can also get a US B1/B2 visa for a combination of both purposes.  

Can I get a Green Card with a US tourist visa?

Since B2 visa is issued to individuals who want to visit the US temporarily. At the time of visa interview, an applicant must prove that he/she will return to their home country after it expires to get the B2 visa. In addition, the applicant is not allowed to work or study in the US, which means you won’t be able to get a Green Card easily with a US tourist visa. 

Are Indian nationals eligible for the Visa Waiver Program?

No, Indian nationals are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.

What is the difference between B1 and B2 Visa?

A B1 visa is issued for temporary business purposes while foreign nationals who wish to visit the United States for tourism and non-business purposes are issued a B2 visa. Generally, both of the visas are issued together as a B1/B2 visa by the US Embassy. 

What can I do if my application for a US B-2 visa is declined?

If your US B2 visa application is declined, you will have to go through the entire application process again. 

Can B2 visas be extended?

Yes, a B2 visa can be extended if you meet the requirements. USCIS recommends an applicant apply for a B2 visa extension at least 45 days before your visa expires. 

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