A B visa is one of a category of non-immigrant visas issued by the United States government to foreign citizens seeking entry for a temporary period. The two types of B visa are the B-1 visa, issued to those seeking entry for business purposes, and the B-2 visa, issued to those seeking entry for tourism or other non-business purposes. In practice, the two visa categories are usually combined together and issued as a "B-1/B-2 visa" valid for a temporary visit for either business or pleasure, or a combination of the two. Visitors from some countries do not need to obtain a visa for these purposes (see United States visas).
- 1 Cost
- 2 Entry ban
- 3 Validity period and duration of stay
- 4 Visitor visa statistics
- 5 Use for other countries
- 6 Requirement to overcome presumption of intending immigrant
- 7 Uses of a B-1/B-2 visa
- 8 Adjusted Visa refusal Rate
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
As of November 2016, nationals of the following countries have to pay the reciprocity fee.
|Central African Republic||40|
|Papua New Guinea||15|
Citizens of seven designated countries have been banned from entering the United States, even if holding a valid visa, for a period of 90 days, since January 27, 2017. However, citizens of these seven countries who are Green Card holders or travelling on national passports issued by another non-designated country will not be affected. As of February 3, 2017, the executive order is not enforced pursuant to the temporary restraining order issued by the federal judge James Robart.
Validity period and duration of stay
As with other non-immigrant U.S. visas, a B-1/B-2 visa has a validity period (from 1 to 10 years), allows for either one or multiple entries into the U.S, and elicits a period of stay (maximum 6 months) recorded by the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry on the individual's form I-94.
Validity periods per country are listed in the U.S. Department of State Visa Reciprocity Tables and vary from 1 month for DR Congo, 3 years for Russia, and 5 years for Pakistan, to 10 years for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa, Tunisia and most European Countries.
Periods of stay for B-1 visas may be granted initially for a duration long enough to allow the visitor to conduct their business, up to a maximum of 6 months, and can be extended for another 6 months; B-1 visas are usually granted for three months or less, while B-2 visas are generally granted for six months. Extensions are possible, provided the individual has not violated the conditions of their admission.
A Border Crossing Card (BCC), also called a laser visa, has a 10-year validity and functions as both a BCC and a B-1/B-2 visitor's visa. The BCC is only issued to nationals of Mexico who apply for a visa inside Mexico.
Validity of visas by nationality for B-1/B-2 visa:
|Country||Validity (in months)|
|Antigua and Barbuda||120|
|Central African Republic||12|
|Papua New Guinea||12|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||120|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||120|
|Sao Tome And Principe||6|
|Trinidad and Tobago||120|
|United Arab Emirates||120|
|Visa Waiver Program countries[d]||120|
- Single entry
- Double entry
- Electronic Visa Update System registration is required
- Except Australia and Taiwan
Electronic Visa Update System
On March 15, 2016, the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) announced that, starting from 29 November 2016, all holders of Chinese passports who also hold 10-year B visas are required to enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) before travelling to the United States via land, air or sea. The EVUS is designed for visa holders to update any changes to their basic biographic and employment information at the time of their visa applications. Similar to the ESTA, each EVUS registration is valid for a period of 2 years or until the holder's passport expiration date, whichever comes first, and each user of EVUS must pay a cost recovery fee of US$8 to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Holders of EVUS can travel to the U.S. for unlimited times providing that their EVUS registration and visa remain valid.
The requirement applies to any holder of Chinese passport and B visa with a 10-year validity. It also applies to holders of non-citizen travel documents issued by other countries, such as refugee travel document and certificate of identity, whose nationality is Chinese. It does not apply, however, to holders of HKSAR passports and MSAR passports, holders of B visas with a validity shorter than 10 years, and holders of other types of visas. The CBP and DHS are seeking to expand the EVUS to other nationalities in the future.
EVUS was officially launched on 31 October 2016 for early enrollments. Upon launch, CBP announced that the enrollment fee will be suspended until further notice.
Visitor visa statistics
In fiscal 2015 most B-1,2 visas were issued to the nationals of the following countries (listed over 40,000 visas):
|Nationality||Issued B-1,2 visas in 2015|
In fiscal 2014 most reasons to refuse a visa were cited as "failure to establish entitlement to nonimmigrant status", "incompatible application" (most overcome), "unlawful presence", "misrepresentation", "criminal convictions", "smugglers" and "controlled substance violators". Smaller number of applications were rejected for "physical or mental disorder", "prostitution", "espionage", "terrorist activities", "falsely claiming citizenship" and other grounds for refusal including "presidential proclamation", "money laundering", "communicable disease" and "commission of acts of torture or extrajudicial killings".
Highest number of non-immigrant admissions for tourists and for business purposes into the United States in fiscal year 2014 and 2015 was from the following countries (listed over 700,000 admissions):
|Mexico||01 19,175,345||01 18,889,281|
|Canada||02 11,671,122||02 11,289,743|
|United Kingdom||03 4,691,874||03 4,549,934|
|Japan||04 3,750,667||04 3,933,941|
|Brazil||05 2,383,822||06 2,275,588|
|China||06 2,309,654||07 2,001,302|
|Germany||07 2,208,145||05 2,283,086|
|France||08 1,915,725||08 1,966,335|
|South Korea||09 1,742,422||09 1,576,328|
|Australia||10 1,399,615||10 1,389,358|
|Italy||11 1,229,115||11 1,282,485|
|India||12 1,175,153||12 1,111,738|
|Spain||13 953,969||13 955,737|
|Colombia||14 928,424||14 924,916|
|Argentina||15 765,576||16 730,089|
|Netherlands||16 749,826||15 766,936|
|Total (worldwide)||17 69,025,896||17 67,519,113|
A number of visitors with B-1/B-2 visa overstayed the maximum duration allowed for their visits. The Department of Homeland Security published a report for Fiscal Year 2015 that lists the number of suspected violations made by passengers who arrived via air or sea. The statistics below exclude persons who left the United States later than their allowed stay or legalized their status and shows only suspected overstays who remained in the country.
Among Mexicans who were admitted via air or sea, 42,114 persons are suspected to overstay their non-immigrant visits for business or pleasure. More than 95% of visitors from Mexico arrive to the U.S. by land rather than by air and sea. Statistics for suspected overstays of the land visitors are yet to be released.
Excluding Mexico, the top 20 countries of nationality by the number of suspected in-country B-1/B-2 visa overstays (out of total 210,825) are:
The top 10 countries of nationality by in-country B-1/B-2 visa overstay rate are:
There were also 153,166 persons admitted from the Visa Waiver Program countries who are suspected to overstay their permitted stay in the United States. See Visa Waiver Program#Overstay rate for detailed statistics across such countries.
Use for other countries
US tourist visas that are valid for further travel are accepted as substitute visas for national visas in following countries:
- Albania — 90 days;
- Antigua and Barbuda — 30 days; USD 100 visa waiver fee applies.
- Belize — 30 days; USD 50 visa waiver fee applies.
- Chile — 90 days; for nationals of China only.
- Colombia — 90 days;
- Costa Rica — 30 days or less if the visa is about to expire; must hold a multiple entry visa.
- Dominican Republic — 90 days;
- El Salvador — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
- Georgia — 90 days within any 180-day period;
- Guatemala — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
- Honduras — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
- Jamaica — 30 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
- Mexico — 180 days;
- Montenegro — 30 days;
- Nicaragua — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
- Panama — 30/180 days; must hold a visa valid for at least 2 more entries.
- Philippines — 7 days; for nationals of China and India only.
- Serbia — 90 days;
- Taiwan — certain nationalities can obtain an online travel authority if holding a valid US visa.
- Turkey — certain nationalities can obtain an electronic Turkish visa if holding a valid US visa.
Requirement to overcome presumption of intending immigrant
Under section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a foreigner must prove to the satisfaction of the Consular officer his or her intent to return to his home country after visiting the United States. The act specifically states:
|“||Every alien (other than a nonimmigrant described in subparagraph (L) or (V) of section 101(a)(15), and other than a nonimmigrant described in any provision of section 101(a)(15)(H)(i) except subclause (b1) of such section) shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa, and the immigration officers, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15).||”|
In practice, this means that consular officers have wide discretion to deny a visa application. Once refused, there is no judicial or other means to challenge a visa decision. The foreigner, however, is free to apply for a visa again, particularly if circumstances have changed that might show to the consular officer that the applicant overcomes the presumption of being an intending immigrant.
Uses of a B-1/B-2 visa
Business or pleasure cover a wide variety of possible reasons to visit the United States. Under the category of temporary visitor for business, it can be used to:
- Purchase supplies or materials
- Hold business meetings
- Settle an estate
- Interview and hire staff
- Negotiate contracts, sign contracts, or take orders for products manufactured outside the United States
- Attend a convention, meeting, trade show, or business event for scientific, educational, professional, or business purposes
- Perform independent research
- Perform certain professional services
- Compete in an athletic competition or try out for a professional team
- Survey potential sites for a business
- Perform as a lecturer or speaker
- Install, service, or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery that was sold by a non-U.S. company to a U.S. buyer when specifically required by the purchase contract; construction work is not allowed
- Participate in a training program that is not designed primarily to provide employment
Under the category of temporary visitor for pleasure, a B-2 visa can be used to:
- Travel within the U.S.
- Visit family or friends
- Participate in activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature
- Obtain medical treatment
- Enroll in a short, recreational course of study, but it must not be credited toward a degree
- Participate in an event or a contest as an amateur and do not receive payment
The B-2 visa can also be used by cohabiting (unmarried) partners of non-immigrant visa holders.
Holders of B-1/B-2 visas are prohibited to engage in the following activities:
- Employment, whether paid or unpaid (some exceptions apply)
- Receive education which credits to a degree
- Arrive in the U.S. as a part of a crew of a ship or an aircraft
- Work as a journalist or other information media
- Perform before a paying audience
- Live permanently or long-term in the U.S.
- Manage a business located in the U.S.
Adjusted Visa refusal Rate
The Adjusted Visa Refusal Rate for B visas were:
|Country/Region||Rate 2008||Rate 2014||Rate 2015|
|Antigua and Barbuda||21.7%||20.8%||20.17%|
|Central African Republic||39.6%||46.6%||32.43%|
|Guinea - Bissau||63.4%||56.5%||65.18%|
|Papua New Guinea||3.4%||7.4%||5.14%|
|Sao Tome And Principe||28.6%||10.7%||5.71%|
|St. Kitts And Nevis||25.0%||27.5%||26.6%|
|St. Vincent And The Grenadines||26.4%||24.1%||27.15%|
|Trinidad And Tobago||23.8%||21.2%||25.16%|
|United Arab Emirates||10.4%||4.8%||7.1%|
- "Fees for Visa Services". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- "Reciprocity by Country". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
- Judge in Seattle halts Trump’s immigration order nationwide; White House vows fight
- "B-1 Temporary Business Visitor". USCIS. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- "B Visa Overview | Immigration.Com - Law Offices of Rajiv S. Khanna, PC". Immigration.Com. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- "Extend Your Stay". USCIS. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- "Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country". Bureau of Consular Affairs. United States Department of State.
- "CBP Announces the Electronic Visa Update System". USCBP. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- "Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) Frequently Asked Questions". USCBP. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- CBP Launches the Electronic Visa Update System for Early Enrollments
- Including Border Crossing Cards
- 2014 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics
- Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2015
- Entry/Exit Overstay Report Fiscal Year 2015
- Countries and regions that require a visa to travel to Mexico, Instituto Nacional de Migración, September 27, 2013.
- Timatic - Visa information for Mexico
- "INA: ACT 214 - ADMISSION OF NONIMMIGRANTS". USCIS.
- "A 214(b) Denial: What it Means, What You Can Do." http://www.usvisalawyers.co.uk/article20.htm , website of Gudeon & McFadden law firm, accessed 22 September 2012.
- "Business Travel to the United States". Bureau of Consular Affairs. United States Department of State. March 2014.
- "Working (Legally) on a Visitor's Visa or Visa Waiver Entry". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Adjusted Refusal Rate 2014
- Adjusted Refusal Rate 2015