The United States emerges not only as a prime employment destination but also as a highly sought-after tourist hotspot. Renowned for its historical treasures, remarkable infrastructure, and stunning natural landscapes, the US offers an appealing setting for both leisure and business endeavors. Consequently, numerous individuals choose the US as their preferred destination for travel or commerce, leading to the availability of specific visas exclusively for visiting purposes.

US Visitor Visas: Explained


US visitor visas grant temporary entry for short-term visits, lasting up to six months.

Types of Visitor Visas (B Category):

B1 Visa:

Allows entry to the US for business purposes, such as conducting transactions with US-based companies.

B2 Visa:

Permits entry to the US for tourism, leisure activities, or visiting friends and family.

Key Points to Note:

Effective May 30, 2023, the application fee for a B1/B2 visa increased to $185, up from the previous rate of $160.

B1 vs B2 Visa: A Comparative Analysis


The primary distinction between a B1 and a B2 visa lies in their respective purposes: B1 visas are granted for business activities, while B2 visas are intended for tourism within the US. Both visas typically span a six-month period, with potential extensions up to a year.

Activities Permitted under B1 and B2 Visas: B1 vs B2 Visa Comparison

B1 vs B2 Visa Comparison

B1 Visa B2 Visa
Negotiate and finalize contracts. Attend family or school reunions.
Participate in business meetings and events. Attend family or social gatherings (e.g., weddings, graduations).
Conduct independent research. Visit recreational resorts.
Purchase business-related materials. Receive medical treatment.
Complete exams administered in the US. Attend cultural events (e.g., concerts, sports) without remuneration.
Provide business consultations. Explore various cities within the US.

Exploring US Visitor Visa Options and Limitations

Benefits of US Visitor Visas:

  • There is no annual limit on the issuance of US visitor visas.
  • Eligible individuals can obtain visas multiple times, provided they adhere to the regulations and criteria.

Limitations of B1/B2 Visas for USA:

With a B1/B2 visa, visitors are permitted to travel within the US but are expressly prohibited from engaging in the following activities:

  • Enroll as a full or part-time student.
  • Perform paid work.
  • Pursue employment in journalism or the press.
  • Seek any form of employment.
  • Serve as a crewmember on aircraft or ships.
  • Apply for permanent residency in the US.

US Visitor's Visa Application Process

Complete Form DS-160:

Form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is a requisite document for obtaining a US visitor visa. Tailored sections are available depending on whether you are applying for a B1 or B2 visa. Essential details about personal information, background, and the purpose of your visit to the US are required. Upon completion, a confirmation page and code are issued, which must be retained for future reference.

The DS-160 form can be conveniently filled out online through the Consular Electronic Application Center.

US Visitor's Visa Application Fee:

The application fee for US visitor visas stands at $185. Additionally, visa issuance fees may apply, contingent upon your country's relationship with the US.

Schedule Your Visitor Visa Interview:

Mandatory for visa applicants aged 14 to 79, a US visitor visa interview with a representative from the US Embassy is necessary. Detailed instructions on scheduling a US visa interview can be found in the provided resource.

Preparing Your Document File for B1/B2 Visas

Compile Necessary Documents:

When visiting the US Embassy, it's imperative to substantiate your case for visa approval. To initiate the US visitor visa application process, compile a comprehensive document file comprising:

  • Standard required documents applicable to all US visas.
  • Specific document requisites for either the B1 visa or the B2 visa.

Attend Your Interview:

Armed with your document file, attend the visa interview pertinent to your desired visitor visa type. During the interview, officials typically focus on assessing your intent to return to your home country. Given concerns regarding illegal employment seekers, it's crucial to demonstrate your genuine intent to adhere to visa regulations and return home following your visit.

Understanding USA Visitor Visa Processing and Validity

Processing Time for USA Visitor Visas:

The processing duration for B1/B2 visas can range from several weeks to several months. To safeguard timely processing, it's prudent to apply well in advance, particularly if you have a specific travel date planned.

Health Insurance Requirement for Visitors in the United States:

While the US authorities do not mandate health insurance for visa issuance, it's strongly recommended due to the exorbitant healthcare costs in the US. For instance, treating a broken leg or arm can incur expenses upwards of $2,500, with an average nightly hospital stay exceeding $10,000.

Explore Travel Insurance Options:

Discover various travel insurance plans tailored for visitors to the USA, including coverage for visiting parents and pregnant women.

Validity of US Visitor Visas:

US visitor visas are typically granted for periods ranging from one month to ten years. However, the maximum permissible stay on a visitor visa is six months. It's essential to note that employment is strictly prohibited during this period, necessitating proof of financial capability to support your stay.

Exploring B1/B2 Visa Extension and Related Queries

B1/B2 Visa Extension Process:

  • To extend a B1/B2 visa, you must present a valid justification for prolonging your stay and furnish supporting documentation. Alternatively, while in the US on a visitor visa, you may endeavor to transition to a visa with a longer duration. However, if pursuing this avenue, it's imperative to disclose your intentions to embassy officials during your interview. Failure to do so necessitates demonstrating that your initial travel plans did not include a change in visa status, and the decision arose subsequently.
  • Possibility of Obtaining a Green Card with Visitor Visas:
  • Acquiring permanent residency via visitor visas poses challenges due to their temporary nature and the requirement to demonstrate an intent to return to one's home country. Exceptions include transitioning to a longer-term visa allowing dual intent (such as applying for a Green Card), marriage to a US citizen, or joining family members residing in the US.
  • Bringing Dependents on a B1/B2 Visa:
  • B1/B2 visas do not include provisions for dependents. Therefore, if you intend to travel with your family, each member must obtain the appropriate visitor visas individually.


Disclaimer: The information provided regarding the B1/B2 visa process is intended for informational purposes only. While efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, it is essential for candidates to conduct their own thorough research and verify details pertaining to their specific circumstances. Visa regulations and procedures may vary based on individual factors and evolving government policies. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to seek guidance from official sources and consult with relevant authorities or legal professionals for personalized advice.