Can I use a visitor's visa for this? Appropriate and inappropriate uses of the visitor's visa?

The visitor’s visa (B1/B2) has multiple uses, and in some instances can be a great immigration solution for a foreign national needing to enter the U.S. temporarily. However, if used inappropriate, it can also cause you and possibly your employer huge immigration problems and delays. Generally speaking, the B-1 is used for business purposes, and the B-2 is used for pleasure.

B-1 for Business: What is permissible?

The B-1 can be used when a foreign national needs to come to the U.S. to participate in commercial transactions not involving gainful employment. This can include:

  • Negotiating contracts
  • Litigation
  • Consulting with clients or business associates
  • Participate in scientific, educational, professional, religious or business conventions
  • Attend business meeting (including members of the board of directors of a U.S. corporation)

B-2 for Pleasure: What does this include?

Generally speaking, the B-2 can be used for touring and visiting the United States, including:

  • Tour
  • Visit friends
  • Health purposes (medical treatment)
  • Participate in conventions of social organizations

How do I get a visitor’s visa?

A foreign national applies for the visitor’s visa directly at the U.S. consulate. The applicant must have a residence in the foreign country, and must intend not to abandon his or her foreign residence. When the foreign national applies for the visa at the U.S. consulate, he/she will have to show ties to his/her home country, including employment, family, and social ties. The visa itself may be granted for a period of up to ten years. However, a foreign national can be admitted to the U.S. for a period of up to one year. Once in the US, the foreign national can extend or change his or her status. However, there are certain rules regarding the change of status from a visitor’s visa. Therefore it is advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before changing status.