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Understanding a B-2 visa

At the Vickerstaff Law Office in Kentucky, we know how exciting it is when your friends and relatives come for a visit, especially when they are coming from another country. You and they may already know that they need a B-2 visa in order to visit America for pleasure purposes, but you may be unclear as to exactly what a B-2 visa is and how they go about getting one.

Per the U.S. Department of State, visitors to America need a B-2 visa not only when they wish to visit with family or friends, but also when they wish to do any of the following:

  • Tour anywhere in the U.S.
  • Receive medical treatment
  • Participate in amateur sports, musical or other contests or events
  • Participate in events hosted by social, service or fraternal groups
  • Enroll in a short nonacademic study course

Prohibited activities

Visitors here on a B-2 travel visa cannot do any of the following:

  • Obtain employment (this requires a B-1 visa)
  • Work for a news or information outlet
  • Study at an academic institution
  • Take up permanent residence
  • Perform professionally for a paying audience

In addition, they cannot be an aircraft or ship crewmember.

Visa interview

After applying to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate located near them, supplying their passport and a recent photo of themselves, and paying the application fee, most B-2 visa applicants must be interviewed by embassy or consulate personnel. The only applicants excluded from the interview process are children age 13 or younger and senior citizens age 80 or older. If the applicant is applying for a renewal B-2 visa rather than a first-time one, the interview may not be required.

Occasionally, visa applicants may be required to produce additional documentation to prove that they are eligible to receive a B-2 visa. Such additional documentation may include the following:

  • Proof as to the purpose of their trip
  • Proof of their intent to leave the U.S. once their visa expires
  • Proof of their ability to pay the costs of their trip

B-2 visitor visas usually are good for six months, after which they expire and the visa holder must leave the U.S. and return to their home country. For additional information on this subject, please visit this page on our website. 

 

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