HOW TO APPLY
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.
COMPLETE THE ONLINE VISA APPLICATION
SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW
Interviews are generally required for visa applicants with certain limited exceptions below. Consular officers may require an interview of any visa applicant. If you are age 13 and younger an interview is not required. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.
PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW
GATHER REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs for your trip, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your trip.
Note: Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a visitor visa. If you choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember it is not one of the factors used in determining whether to issue or deny the visa.
ATTEND YOUR VISA INTERVIEW
A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a visitor visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans are taken as part of the application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location. After your visa interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires further administrative processing. The consular officer will inform you if this required. After the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality), and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you. Review the visa processing times to learn more.
ENTERING THE COUNTRY
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or a paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Learn more about admissions and entry requirements, restrictions about bringing food, agricultural products, and other restricted/prohibited goods, and more by reviewing the CBP website.
EXTENDING YOUR STAY
See Extend Your Stay on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to learn about requesting to extend your stay beyond the date indicated on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94. Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status. Under U.S. law, visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided (Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). Any multiple entry visa that was voided due to being out of status will not be valid for future entries into the United States. Failure to depart the United States on time may also result in you being ineligible for visas in the future. Review Visa Denials and Ineligibilities and Waivers: Laws to learn more.
CHANGE OF STATUS
If your plans change while in the United States (for example, you marry a U.S. citizen or receive an offer of employment), you may be able to request a change in your nonimmigrant status to another category through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website to learn more. While you are in the United States, receiving a change of status from USCIS does not require you to apply for a new visa. However, once you depart the United States you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the appropriate category for your travel.
The B1 and B2 visas are for visitors who travel to America and plan to go back to their home country afterward. They are good for short-term visits for one - five year plans. Specifically, the B1 visa is for business visits while the B2 visa is for pleasure, tourism, and medical visits. However, since many people wind up doing both, the two visas are often issued together as a joint B1/B2 visa. This means you can visit the country several times on both business trips and vacations if you want, and you won't have to worry about the details. There are no quotas or limits to the number of B1/B2 visas issued every year.
What Can You Do With a B1/B2 Visa?
While you can conduct business with a B1/B2 visa, it's important to remember there are certain things you can't do, since you need other visas to have permission to do them. Here is what you can do with a B1/B2 visa: