B2 tourist visa overview
The visitor for pleasure (tourist) visa allows foreign visitors to enter the United States for a temporary visit for pleasure or tourism purposes.
The visa may be issued in either single entry or multiple entry formats.
The visa may also be issued for a limited time frame or on an indefinite basis.
No Sponsor Required: Any foreign person may file an application for a B-2 tourist visa without the necessity of a United States sponsor.
Ease of Application: The application itself is filed directly at the United States consulate abroad and typically a decision is made on an immediate or short term basis.
Change of Status: While present in the United States, should the visitor’s intentions change as a result of post-admission circumstances, it is possible to seek a change of status to other non-immigrant classifications.
Valid Passport: The visa is issued by placement within a valid passport.
Non-Immigrant Intent: The foreign national must satisfy the consular officer that he will return abroad upon the completion of his temporary visit for pleasure and will not engage in unauthorized employment in the United States.
Financial Capability: The visa will only be issued to applicants who can demonstrate the financial resources that would accommodate round trip travel to and from the United States as well as payment of all living expenses during the temporary visit.
Limited Stay: The B-2 visa allows the temporary visitor to enter the United States for an initial stay of no more than six months.
Limited Accessibility: The B-2 visitor is expected to maintain his residence abroad. Many Border Patrol agents interpret this to mean that the visitor should, over the long course, average no more than six months per year in the United States. While it is possible to obtain a six month extension, and then depart the country and re-apply for admission immediately, the inspecting Immigration officer may deny admission for failure to maintain sufficient presence abroad.
No Employment: No employment is authorized in the United States while present on a B-2 visitor’s visa.
Family Not Included: Each family member must apply for and receive his own B2 visa in order to enter the United States.
SUGGESTED DOCUMENTATION WHEN APPLYING
The documentation submitted in a B-2 application should demonstrate the temporariness of the trip, an intention to return to an unabandoned foreign residence and financial ability to support oneself during the period of stay requested.
This may include the following:
Ownership or lease documents for the alien’s residence in the home country;
Evidence of work, studies, or activities to be resumed upon the alien’s return to the home country;
Evidence of family members left behind in the home country;
Evidence of other businesses or holdings in the home country;
Documentation of the temporariness of the visit;
A round-trip ticket;
A travel itinerary;
Evidence that the alien will be re-admitted to Canada after the trip (if that is where the alien intends to return);
A letter from friends, relatives or others in the United States inviting the alien and detailing the length and purpose of the stay (an immigrant visa appointment letter from the Canadian consulate is necessary if that is the purpose of the alien’s entry); and
Bank records or other documents, showing money on hand that demonstrates the alien’s ability to afford the trip.
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