USA B1/B2 Visa FAQ
Going on a trip to the United States? If you need a visa to travel, you will most likely need to apply for a B1/B2 visa. This is a visitor's visa, which is issued for tourists in most cases. If your purpose is to conduct business negotiations, attend conferences, or any other activity that falls under the definition of a business visit, then you will also need this type of visa.
Table of contents
- What is the difference between a B1 visa and a B2 visa?
- How to apply for a B1/B2 visa?
- B1/B2 visa documentation
- Do I need to buy a ticket to the U.S. in advance to apply for a B1/B2 visa?
- What are B1/B2 visa photo requirements?
- What is the B1/B2 visa duration?
- What is the allowed B1/B2 visa length of stay?
- How to apply for a B1/B2 visa for a child?
In this article, we will answer the most common questions about applying for a U.S. B1/B2 visa.
What is the difference between a B1 visa and a B2 visa?
B-1 visa is for persons entering the United States to attend professional events, resolve legal issues, and participate in business negotiations. The B-2 visa is for travel of a personal nature. The purpose of the trip may be for tourism, visiting friends or relatives, receiving medical care, or participating in various non-commercial activities. Generally, the B-1 and B-2 categories are combined to produce the B-1/B-2 visa.
In any case, the required paperwork is the same for both business and tourist trips.
How to apply for a B1/B2 visa?
The B1/B2 visa application process begins with the payment of a $160 non-refundable visa fee and filling out the DS-160 online form on the official U.S. State Department website. The form must be accompanied by one digital photo that meets U.S. visa photo requirements.
To make an appointment for your interview at the consulate, you will need to create a personal account at Ustraveldocs.com. If you have family members traveling with you, you will need an account for each of them. Click the Schedule My Appointment link and follow the instructions. You will need the following data:
- Passport number;
- Number of your fee payment receipt;
- Ten-digit barcode number from the DS-160 confirmation page.
B1/B2 visa documentation
The list of required documents that must be brought to the interview at the embassy is as follows:
- DS-160 confirmation number;
- A valid passport which contains at least one blank page;
- Confirmation of payment of the consular fee;
- One printed photo (identical to the one you attached to the DS-160 form);
- Printed confirmation of the interview appointment.
For the B1/B2 visa interview at the embassy, the applicant may take any additional documents. It is best if they are originals, however, in various cases it is possible to provide copies as well. The entire package must be presented in person during the interview with the consul. This may include the following papers:
- Bank statements confirming the financial situation of the applicant, as well as information about the property, taxes and payments, which reflect the financial well-being;
- A certificate from your current job, which must include the applicant's full name, current position, salary, and proof of vacation for the period of the trip;
- Tourists who have been to the U.S. before may attach to their application a document confirming past travel.
You can learn more about the rules of the U.S. visa interview in this article.
Do I need to buy a ticket to the U.S. in advance to apply for a B1/B2 visa?
B1/B2 visa requirements don’t include the tickets or hotel bookings. However, it is advisable to prepare verbal answers to questions about the purpose and route of your trip.
What are B1/B2 visa photo requirements?
U.S. visa photo specifications are the same for all types of travel documents. Their main list is as follows:
- The consulate accepts color photos that are no more than six months old. If you are applying to replace a previous expired visa, you must provide a newer photo.
- The required U.S. visa photo format is 5×5 cm (2x2 inches), with a resolution of 600×600 to 1200×1200 dpi. The applicant's head (from the top, including hair, to the chin) should occupy 50 to 70% of the photograph area, and the head height should be 25 to 35 mm.
- Please note that photographs must be taken without glasses. An exception is when glasses cannot be removed for medical reasons. In such a situation, you must provide a corresponding statement signed by a healthcare professional or practitioner.
- The background of the photo should be even and light, preferably white.
- The facial expression should be neutral, with eyes open.
Here is an example of a USA visa photo:
If the photo does not meet the established parameters, the application will not be accepted.
So take a suitable USA visa photo with your smartphone:
What is the B1/B2 visa duration?
The B1/B2 visa validity varies from 1 to 10 years and depends primarily on the nationality of the applicant. This is a multiple-entry visa: you can enter the United States on it several times during this period.
What is the allowed B1/B2 visa length of stay?
The number of days of stay is stamped at the border: the officer puts in the passport the last date by which the visitor must leave. Usually, it is allowed to stay in the country for up to 180 days per trip.
How does the passport control officer determine what date to put on the passport? It's simple - if the visitor travels to America infrequently and stays there for a short time, then he/she will always be allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days. But if you visit the U.S. on a multi-visa too often and stay there each time for an unreasonably long time, then there will be legitimate questions at the border. The B1/B2 visa is issued for the purpose of short-term trips, and long stays are viewed negatively. Therefore, the officer may allow the applicant to stay in the country for a shorter period of time.
How to apply for a B1/B2 visa for a child?
If a visa is issued for a child under 14 years of age, the following documents must be attached to the main set of documentation:
- A copy of the parent's valid visa, if any;
- Documents confirming the purpose of the trip and the itinerary;
- For children accompanied by one parent or a third party, a notarized authorization (and a copy) from the second parent(s) must be provided.
Children under 14 years of age are exempt from the fingerprinting process. In some cases, the Consulate reserves the right to call one or both parents for an interview. The presence of a child under the age of 14 is not required.