B Visa

Definition: " An alien ( other than one coming for the purpose of study or performing skilled or unskilled labor or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media coming to engage in such vocations) having a residence in a foreign country, which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business or temporarily for pleasure" (Immigration and Nationality Act INA)

B-1 - Business Visitor

This is intended for an alien "who is visiting the United States temporarily for business"

The alien must have an unabandoned residence in a foreign country and must not be coming to the United States to engage in local employment. He must also be coming for a specific period of time which is less than one year. The person is allowed to accept "incidental expenses" ( accommodation/travel expenses)

Legitimate activities include

  • Engaging in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment in the United States
  • Negotiating Contracts
  • Consulting with business associates
  • Litigating
  • Participating in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars
  • Undertaking independent research

Admission is for a maximum of one year though extensions can be given in increments of 6 months.

B-2 - Visitor for Pleasure

Pleasure is defined by the State Department as "legitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a fraternal, social or service nature". Any form of employment is prohibited. Looking for work is not a permissible B-2 activity.

Duration of the visa is normally 6 months though extensions can be obtained.

The procedure for obtaining both B-1 and B-2 is by filling in Optional Form - OF 156