B-1 Business and B-2 Tourist visas are both nonimmigrant visas for individuals who wish to come to the U.S. temporary for business or pleasure. Even though the process of obtaining a B-1 visa is very similar to the process of obtaining a B-2 visa, the reasons for applying for each visa category are different.
A B-1 visa is designed for the visitors who plan to come to the U.S. temporary for a business trip. The purpose of the business trip may include: making investments, negotiating a contract, buying goods, attending seminars, trade shows, meetings with business partners, suppliers or customers, educational or scientific conventions, settling an estate, resolving any litigation issues, soliciting sales or any other temporary work in the U.S. An employer for whom a B-1 applicant is performing a work in the U.S. must be located outside the U.S. as well as a source of payment for the job performed. An applicant can not be employed or operate his or her own business on a B-1 visitor visa.
A B-2 visitor visa may be used only for medical treatment or recreational purposes, such as visiting family members or friends, tourism, amusement, or rest. If the applicant’s main purpose is to visit the U.S. for pleasure, he or she is permitted to take recreational classes that last less than 18 hours per week as long as he or she does not earn any credits that may apply towards a degree. Individuals who wish to come to the U.S. for both, business and pleasure may obtain both, B-1 and B-2 visas at the same time. In order to qualify for a B-1/B-2 visa, an applicant must meet certain requirements. An applicant must prove to the consular officer that he or she does not have any intent to immigrate to the U.S. by showing the following:
- The applicant plans to stay in the U.S. temporarily;
- The applicant’s purpose of coming to the U.S. is for business;
- The applicant must provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover all the expenses in the U.S.;
- The applicant must show that he or she has strong social and economic ties in his or her home country that will prevent him or her from immigrating to the U.S.