About the B1/B2 visa rules and policy

US B1/B2 visa rules and policies allow temporary stays in the US for business (B1) or tourism (B2). Typically, B1/B2 visa holders can stay in the US for up to six months per visit. The immigration officer decides the length of stay at the entry point, and extensions may sometimes be granted. To obtain the visa, you must convince the officer of your legitimate purpose for visiting and show strong ties to your home country. During your stay, you must follow all US immigration laws and regulations. B1/B2 visas do not permit unauthorized work or study; your initial stay duration is determined upon entry. Renewals are possible, and the Interview Waiver Program can simplify the process under specific conditions. For more details on the regulations and guidelines regarding B1/B2 visas for the United States, continue reading.

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Here is an overview of the essential rules and policies governing the B1/B2 visa:

Length of Stay:

  • B1/B2 visas have a maximum validity period of six months.
  • Upon entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer determines the permitted stay, which could be shorter than the visa validity period.
  • You may apply for an extension of stay if necessary.

Rules for obtaining the visa:

  • Convince the immigration officer of a legitimate purpose for the US visit.
  • Demonstrate strong ties to home country (family, employment, property ownership).
  • Provide a detailed itinerary and evidence of sufficient funds to cover your stay if required.

Things You Can Do:

Business (B-1):

  • Engaging in discussions with business associates
  • Attending scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions or conferences
  • Resolving an estate
  • Negotiating contracts

Tourism (B-2):

  • Sightseeing
  • Taking a vacation
  • Visiting friends or relatives
  • Receiving medical treatment
  • Participating in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
  • Engaging in amateur participation in musicals, sports, or similar events or contests without receiving payment
  • Enrolling in a short recreational course of study, not for credit towards a degree (e.g., a two-day cooking class during vacation)

Things You Cannot Do:

  • Study
  • Employment
  • Paid performances or any professional performances before a paying audience
  • Arrival as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft
  • Work in foreign press, radio, film, print journalism, or other information media
  • Pursuing permanent residence in the United States

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If you plan to visit the United States for business, tourism, or medical treatment, you will need a B1/B2 Visa. Our service can help you obtain your US B1/B2 Visa and have it delivered to your mailbox within 30 days. 

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The distinction between B1 and B2 visa categories

FeatureB1 Visa (Business Visitor)B2 Visa (Tourist Visitor)
PurposeThe B1 visa is intended for individuals traveling to the US for business purposes.The B2 visa is designed for individuals traveling to the US for tourism, pleasure, or medical treatment.
Activities1. Attending business-related conferences or conventions.
2. Negotiating contracts or deals.
3. Participating in scientific, educational, or professional events.
4. Settling an estate or handling business matters.
1. Tourism and vacation.
2. Visiting friends and relatives.
3. Certain medical treatments.
4. Participation in social events or contests (e.g., music or sports) without receiving pay.

Eligibility Criteria and Required Documents

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Convince the consular officer that you maintain a residence outside the United States which you have no intention of abandoning.
  • Demonstrate that your visit to the United States will be temporary.
  • Ensure that your trip will solely involve engaging in lawful activities related to business or pleasure.
  • Avoid being subject to any other legal disqualifications, as assessed by the consular officer.

Required Documents:((Travel State. (2024). Visitor Visa. State.gov. Retrieved March 13, 2024. <https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html>))

  1. Passport: A valid passport with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States.
  2. Travel itinerary: This includes details of your travel plans, such as the purpose of your visit, where you will be staying, and your intended length.
  3. Passport photo: A recent color photograph meeting the U.S. visa requirements should be submitted in JPEG format.
  4. Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States: If you have previously traveled there, you must provide the dates.
  5. Résumé or Curriculum Vitae: This includes a summary of your educational and professional background.
  6. Other information: Depending on the intended purpose of travel, other applicants may be asked to provide additional information when completing the DS-160 form, such as employment details, financial status, and family ties.

Required Documents for Minors

  • Consent Letter: It should be notarized and signed by parents or guardians, stating their consent for the minor to travel to the United States and outlining the purpose of the trip.
  • Birth Certificate: A copy of the minor’s birth certificate to establish their relationship with the parent or legal guardian.
  • Proof of Guardianship: Proof of custody or guardianship is required when a child travels or enrolls in school or medical care. It confirms an individual’s legal responsibility for the child and can be a court order, notarized letter, or other official documentation.

Duration of stay

The initial US B1/B2 visa allows a maximum stay of up to 6 months granted by the CBP officer at the port of entry, with extensions possible through a separate application.

Restrictions and Permitted Activities

The B1 and B2 visas are temporary visas for visiting the United States for business or tourism purposes, respectively. While they allow certain activities, there are also restrictions that visa holders must follow. Here’s what you need to know about prohibited activities:

Prohibited Activities for B-1 Visa Holders:

  • Staying in the US beyond the permitted time
  • Engaging in unlawful activities
  • Applying for the visa under restricted circumstances
  • Funding travel through illegitimate means
  • Seeking alternative employment for additional income
  • Conducting profit-making business or assisting family members’ businesses
  • Enrolling in local schools or universities
  • Participating in sports or entertainment events

Prohibited Activities for B-2 Visa Holders:

  • Engaging in any form of employment for payment
  • Enrolling in courses or schools
  • Representing foreign media without an appropriate visa
  • Pursuing US citizenship or permanent residency

Importance of knowing the Rules and Policy

Understanding the rules and policies surrounding visas, including the B1/B2 visa, is essential for several reasons: 

1. Compliance: Knowing the rules ensures that visa holders adhere to the legal requirements during their stay in the United States, avoiding violations of immigration laws. 

2. Avoiding Legal Issues: Familiarity with the policies helps individuals avoid unintentional breaches of visa terms, which could result in legal consequences, such as deportation or visa revocation. 

3. Maximizing Opportunities: Understanding the permissible activities allows visa holders to make the most of their time in the US, whether for business, tourism, or other purposes, while staying within legal boundaries. 

4. Protecting Rights: Knowledge of visa regulations empowers individuals to assert their rights and privileges in the US, ensuring they receive fair treatment under the law. 

5. Facilitating Smooth Travel: Being aware of visa requirements streamlines the application process, minimizes delays, and reduces the likelihood of encountering complications at immigration checkpoints.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times can you enter the US on a B1 B2 visa?

A B1/B2 visa allows you to enter the US multiple times during its validity period, usually ten (10) years. However, the exact number of entries you can make may depend on the discretion of the immigration officer at the port of entry.

What is the 6-month rule for a US visa?

The 6-month rule for a US visa refers to the maximum amount of time a B1/B2 visa can be used on a single trip in the US.

How much is a bank balance required for a US tourist visa?

There is no specific bank balance requirement for a US tourist visa. However, applicants must demonstrate sufficient funds to cover their travel expenses during their stay in the US.

What is the benefit of a B1/B2 visa?

A B1/B2 visa allows you to enter the US temporarily for business or pleasure purposes, such as attending conferences, meetings, training sessions, visiting family or friends, or engaging in tourism activities.

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Rosalie Santos
Written by

Rosalie is a content writer who loves to learn and share knowledge. She has a background in education and teaching, which helps her write clear, accurate, and engaging content. She writes about travel, culture, and education topics. She also handles Turkey and India visa applications, which she learned from Lei Achumbre, the COO of Visas for Future and a visa expert. She fulfills visa orders and answers customer service questions once a quarter.

Glen Vidania
Managed by Glen Vidania

Glen Vidania is the Content Manager at Visas for Future, a company that offers online visa services for eco-friendly travelers. He is a certified Content Marketer and an experienced academic writer. He writes and promotes content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to the readers. He had work experience and gained skills in writing articles, data entry, SEO email marketing, and guest posting. He is also an expert in applying for visas for Turkey and India.

Glen Vidania
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MLA Style

Santos, Rosalie. "About the B1/B2 visa rules and policy." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/about-the-b1-b2-visa-rules-and-policy/. Accessed on 13 March 2024.

Chicago Style

Santos, Rosalie. "About the B1/B2 visa rules and policy." Visas For Future. March 13, 2024. https://www.visasforfuture.com/about-the-b1-b2-visa-rules-and-policy/.

Published: 13 Mar 2024 1:52 UTC

Last modified: 19 Mar 2024 2:51 UTC

Reading time: 7 minutes

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