Which activities are permissible on a B2 visa?
In this context, activities covered under ‘tourism’ could include:
- taking a holiday
- visiting friends and family
- participating in an amateur event, e.g. a sports contest, where you are not being paid to take part
- attending a short study course that does not result in or count towards a qualification
A B-2 visa may also be used to visit the USA for medical treatment, as long as the treatment falls within the 90-day time limit. There are, however, further requirements relating to your medical condition:
- A person who has contracted a contagious disease will not be granted a visa.
- Documentation must be provided in the case of donating an organ, to prove that you are a suitable donor.
- The treatment you intend to visit the USA to receive must not be available in your own country.
- A letter from your doctor, outlining your condition and necessary treatments, must be provided.
- You must provide some form of acceptance from the US doctor or establishment who will provide the treatment.
- You must provide evidence that you can afford to pay for any costs incurred.
What are the B-2 visa requirements?
To be eligible for a B-2 visa, the main requirement is that you prove that you do not intend to stay in the USA past the time limit of your visa.
You should provide evidence of the purpose of your visit to the USA. This could be in the form of a travel itinerary or any other document that explains the trip.
You should prove that you only wish to stay in the USA for a limited amount of time. Your return air tickets could serve this purpose.
You must prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your trip to the USA, including your return travel home. Proof of income, including bank statements, should therefore be provided.
You must prove that you have a permanent residence in a country other than the USA and that you have economic and social ties there that require you to return home after your visit. Details of your employment, home ownership, status and family in your home country would serve this purpose.
Why might a B-2 visa application be denied?
A B-2 visa application may be rejected where any of the following occur:
- insufficient documents and proof are provided
- the purposes of the visit are not eligible for a B-2 visa
- you have a criminal record
- you cannot satisfactorily prove that you intend to visit the USA for a temporary time only
- you cannot demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to pay for the visit
- you provide information that is later found to be fraudulent
- you previously stayed in the USA for a longer period than you had permission to do so
What is the B-1/B-2 Combination Visa?
In practice, embassies will usually issue the combined visa B-1/B-2 as this allows both buiness and tourism.
What happens at the visa interview?
After you have filed your visa petition, your interview will take place at your local US Embassy or Consulate and you will generally be at the Embassy or Consulate for between 2 to 3 hours.
Your biometric information (fingerprints, photo and signature) will be taken either before or during your interview.
Take your supporting documents with you, including the confirmation page from your DS-160 form and a copy of your appointment confirmation page.
The purpose of the interview is to ensure that you are eligible for a B-2 visa by examining your DS-160 form and supporting documents, and by asking you any relevant questions.
Should your application for a B-2 visa be successful, your visa will be added to your passport before it is returned to you.
So if you intend to visit the US for a business trip, and then take a holiday there, the combination visa is the correct one to apply for.
You will, however, be required to supply additional documents regarding the business element of your visit.