The USA is not only a tourist destination but also a frequent business destination. However, if you intend to visit the USA for business or pleasure, there is a type of visa that meets both objectives. This is the B visa. This visa is one of the main types of visas issued by this country and its immigration service and allows you to travel to the United States for various reasons. We are going to tell you more about this visa, which can be a B1 or B2 visa, and how to obtain it with the different application procedures. First of all, let's remind you that the B visa for the United States is different from the ESTA electronic travel authorisation on several points. This concerns in particular its period of validity, which ranges from 1 to 10 years depending on the case, as opposed to two years for the ESTA. The right to stay in the country granted by this visa is 6 consecutive months as opposed to 90 days for the ESTA and this period can be extended to 6 additional months.
The B1 visa for a business trip to the USA and its specificities:
As quickly indicated in our introduction, there are different types of B visas such as the B1 or B2 visa as well as a visa that combines these two forms, the B1/B2 visa. We will therefore present them to you one by one, starting with the B1 visa which corresponds to the visa for business travel.
If you need to travel to the USA for business reasons, you can apply for a B1 visa. This will give you several possibilities in the USA, as detailed below:
- One of the reasons for going there is to carry out a market study.
- It will also be possible, thanks to this visa, to invest or finalise investments in this country.
- With a B1 visa, you can also canvass, negotiate contracts or represent a company and take orders, for example.
- With this visa, you can also travel to the USA to attend conferences, seminars, meetings, exhibitions and conventions.
- This visa will allow you to meet partners on site, if you are an employee of an American subsidiary or parent company.
However, there are exceptions to the use of this B1 visa which will not allow you to work as an employee of an American company. To work in the United States, you must obtain a specific visa, i.e. the H1B work visa. You will not be able to receive any money from an American entity during your stay in the USA.
The B2 visa for a tourist trip or a medical stay in the USA and its specificities:
We are now going to tell you about the second type of B visa most often issued by the American authorities, the B2 visa. This is the visa that you must obtain if you wish to travel to the USA for tourism and if you have not been able to obtain ESTA authorisation. It will also be useful if you wish to travel to the USA to attend a particular event in the USA or if you are travelling for medical reasons. It can also be used by travellers wishing to visit relatives in the USA.
Thus, the B2 visa may allow you to travel to the USA for the following reasons:
- Travelling around the country as part of a tourist trip or tour, visiting monuments or natural sites for example, as well as all the traditional tourist activities.
- You will also be able to visit one or more relatives who are residing in the United States on this visa or a family member.
- This B2 visa is also often requested by travellers who wish to go to a specific event taking place in the USA such as a cultural, sporting or musical event. Furthermore, this visa also allows participation in such events as a participant but only as an amateur.
- Finally, the B2 visa is useful if you need specific medical care in the USA or to see a specialist.
However, as with the B1 visa, the B2 visa has certain limitations and therefore cannot be used in certain specific cases. This concerns in particular the fact of exercising a professional activity in the United States since, let us recall, this requires a specific H1B work visa. You will also not be able to receive any remuneration or payment from an American entity with this visa, and this for the entire duration of your stay.
Explanation of the B1/B2 visa which combines the two types of B visas:
Few travellers know this, but it is also possible not to choose between the B1 and B2 visas but to opt for the B1/B2 visa which is a visa that combines the characteristics and specificities of these two types of visas. Thus, whatever the reason for your trip (business, medical, tourism, etc.), you can use this visa without any questions.
Opting for this B1/B2 visa is a good idea if you want to enjoy the benefits of both authorisations. Of course, the price of this document may be more expensive.
The process of applying for a B1 or B2 visa and its different stages:
We will now go a step further and take a closer look at the process of applying for and obtaining a B1 or B2 visa or even a B1/B2 visa.
First of all, before you apply, you should be aware that you will need to provide a number of supporting documents when you submit your application. The main purpose of these documents is to verify that travellers who come to the United States on these visas do not intend to immigrate or settle permanently and therefore illegally in the country. It is therefore necessary to prepare any document or evidence that can prove your attachment to your country of origin. This could be your family record book, a marriage certificate, your children's birth certificate, a property deed, an employment contract or other such document. In short, any official document that suggests that you have an interest in returning to your country after your stay will be useful. Of course, you will also be asked to bring documents and evidence to prove that you fit the category of visa you are applying for.
The application for a B1 or B2 visa can be made directly online or through the specific DS-160 form which is provided by several sites including the site of the provider we recommend on this page. You should fill in this application form with the utmost care, leaving no question blank and answering all items truthfully and honestly. This is the form that will be used by the authorities in charge of examining your visa application during the compulsory interview you will have afterwards. This document should be sent to the US Embassy in your country of residence. Again, this can be done online. Please note that it is very important to answer these questions carefully as even the smallest mistake can result in your application being refused. Please read all the answers carefully before validating or sending this form.
When you fill in your B1 or B2 visa application form online, you will also be asked to provide a passport photo. This can be uploaded directly to the website where you are applying. Note here that you also have the possibility to provide this photo during your interview if you do not have the possibility to send it on the website. It is also important to know that the photo you submit must meet certain format standards. If the photo does not meet the noted criteria, it is possible that it will be refused and therefore prevent you from obtaining your visa.
Once you have submitted your official B1 or B2 visa application form, you can proceed to the second stage of your application by requesting an appointment for the mandatory interview. The website where you have filled in and validated your form will automatically redirect you to the official appointment page depending on your country of residence or will give you the telephone number to call to make the appointment.
Once you have received your convocation, you must go to the office at the date and time indicated, taking care to bring with you all the documents necessary to support your application. You should therefore remember to bring your family record book, your bank statement, your employment contract or your last three pay slips, or even a certificate of retirement if you are concerned by this situation. As explained above, it is also advisable to bring any other document that proves your attachment to your country of residence. You may therefore choose to bring your title deeds or proof of payment of your rent. In addition to the documents mentioned above, you should also bring other essential items such as your passport, which must of course be valid and on which your visa will be affixed. It will also be essential to provide a Chronopost envelope on the back of which you will indicate your address and which will be used to return your passport to you once it has been updated with the visa. Finally, you will need to print and bring with you the confirmation page of your online application form and proof of payment of your visa application fee.
You may not have immediate access to the answer to your visa application as it will be sent to you by post. If your visa is accepted, your validated passport will be returned to you within a few days.
The price and payment of the B1 or B2 visa:
Finally, let's look at how you can pay your B1 or B2 or B1/B2 visa fees. Indeed, these fees are compulsory when you submit your application and can be paid directly online on the site where you filled in the form. This payment is preferably made by credit card or possibly by Paypal depending on the site and in a completely secure manner.
Without the payment of this fee, your visa cannot be granted because your file will not be transmitted to the authorities in charge of studying it. Of course, you will also not be able to get an appointment for your mandatory interview. Once you have paid the fee, you should remember to print out the proof of payment that will be sent to you in order to present it at the interview and be able to obtain your visa.