Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for tourism purposes must apply for a visitor’s visa under category B-2
The B2 visa is a US visitor visa which allows you to enter the US for tourism, pleasure, or visit friends and family.
US Tourist Visa holders can engage in the following activities:
· Have a holiday in the US.
· Tour various cities in the US.
· Visit friends or family.
· Participate in social events hosted by various organizations.
· Visit the US for medical treatment.
· Participate in events or contests related to music or sports, for which you will not receive payment.
· Enroll in short study courses for which you will not receive credit (ex. cooking classes).
Who doesn’t need a Tourist Visa?
Only those who are not in the US Visa Waiver Program need to apply for a tourist visa to the USA. If you are from a country that does not require you to apply for a visa for the US, then you are in luck. But if you’re not from one of these countries, start preparing your application for the visitor’s visa
To be allowed to go to the US with a B2 visa, you have to meet the following eligibility criteria:
· That your intent for visiting is compliant with the B2 visa allowed purposes of visit.
· Have enough financial means to cover your stay in the US.
· You intend to return to your home country as soon as your visa expires and you do not intend to stay in the US.
The US Tourist Visa application process goes through these simple steps:
1. Submit Form DS-160.
2. Pay visa fees.
3. Schedule your US Tourist Visa interview.
4. Compile your B2 Visa document file.
5. Attend the visa interview.
1. Submit Form DS-160
Submit your information as well as details about your purpose of visit. You must fill in the sections for your US Tourist visa and then submit it online. After you submit it, you will get a verification page and code which you need for your documents file.
You can fill the DS-160 form online through the Consular Electronic Application Center,
2. Pay the US Tourist visa fees
The application fee for the US Tourist Visa is $160. To continue with your application, you must pay this fee. Depending on your country’s relationship with the US, you might have to pay other fees too. These are called visa issuance fees and they vary from country to country. When you pay all the applicable fees, make sure to save the receipts and add them to your B2 visa documents file.
3. Schedule your US Tourist Visa interview
All applicants between 14 and 79 years old must go through a US Tourist visa interview at the US Embassy they are applying in. To get this interview, you must schedule it through your country’s US Embassy. Due to the high workload that they have, make sure you schedule it as soon as possible. When this procedure is done, you will get an interview confirmation letter which you need to bring to the interview.
4. Compile your B2 Visa document file
The B2 visa documents file that you have includes all supporting documents to show the US Embassy that it is safe to give you the visa. You must bring all documents to your visa interview.
Here are the documents required for a B2 US Tourist visa application:
· Valid passport.
· A US Visa Photo.
· Form DS-160 confirmation page and code.
· Receipt of paid visa fees.
· Interview confirmation page.
· A letter which describes the purpose of your trip.
· Proof of financial means. Financial or bank statements to prove you have the finances to stay in the US of at least $266 for each day of your planned stay.
· Ties to your home country. Family, job contract, lease, or property deed, which prove you will return.
· Optional US visitor visa invitation letter from friends or family in the US.
· Criminal records or letters from authorities stating that you do not have prior convictions.
· Documents relevant to your prior visits. This only applies if you visited the US before.
· Transcripts or diploma. This only applies to students.
· A letter from your employer and payslips for the last three months. If you are a worker
· Photocopies of your relative’s status in the US.
· Letters from doctors on your diagnosis and treatment. If you are visiting for medical purposes.
· Social media details. A list of the social media that you use, and the name
· of your account in each.
5. Attend the visa interview
On the date of your interview, a US Embassy official will ask questions about your background and why you want to go to the US. They will go through your documents to ensure that everything is in order. The interviews do not last long but make sure to disclose all necessary information to avoid problems later on.
The B2 visa may take a few weeks up to a few months to process. Processing times for B2 tourist visas and US visitor visas differ from country to country. It depends on the workload that the US Embassy where you applied has. If you do not hear from the Embassy, be patient and wait for them to inform you on whether you got the visa or not.
The maximum duration of stay on a B2 visa is 6 months. During that time, you can travel throughout the US or for any other purpose. However, as soon as your visa expires, you must return to your home country.
If you want to stay longer, you can get a B2 visa extension for an additional 6 months.
You should apply for a B2 visa extension at least 42 days before the expiration of your I-94 card. Yet, you are not allowed to apply within three months of arrival in the US.
Submit the following documents to apply for a B2 visa extension:
· Completed form I-539.
· Your valid passport.
· A written statement on the reason behind the requested extension.
· Evidence of financial support.
· Payment of B2 visa extension fee, which is $370.
· Original or photocopy of I-94 card.
· The B2 visa extension processing time varies on the number of applications USCIS is processing at the time of your application.