When travelers come to the US, they may enter via two different types of visitor visas: B1 and B2 visitor visa. B1 is called a ‘Visitor for Business’ and a B2 is a ‘Visitor for Pleasure’ visa. In most cases, both the B1 and B2 visitor visa are issued at the same time, so if a visitor has a visa that they used as a tourist, it can also be applied to a business trip.
When holding a B1 visa someone visiting the United States is allowed to:
- Hold business negotiations
- Petition for sales or investors
- Meet in regards to purchase or investment plans
- Make purchases or investments
- Attend and participate in meetings
- Interview/hire staff members
There are some actions which cannot be done on a B1 visa and would, instead, require a working visa. These actions include:
- The actual running and facilitation of a business
- Becoming ‘gainfully employed’
- Receiving payment from a United States organization
- Operate as an athlete or an entertainer
The B1 and B2 visitor visa is considered to be visitor visas and there are definite blurred lines in regards to what is allowed and what is restricted. Whenever bringing someone to the United States on a business visitor visa it is always best to speak with an immigration lawyer to insure that no errors are made. Also, consult with an immigration lawyer if you think that it might be more beneficial to see if an H1B (or non-immigrant) visa would better suit your needs.
A B2 visa is typically used specifically for pleasure. It should be noted that while visiting the US on a B2, visitors may take educational courses provided that these classes are for recreational purposes only such as a short photography tour/class. If there are questions in regards to whether or not a course qualifies, a lawyer or Embassy should be consulted.
An immigration lawyer can also be key in helping to prevent one of the most common reasons that visitor visas are denied – clear evidence that the petitioner has solid familial, economic or social ties to their home country indicating that they are, indeed, planning to return. While it is much better for the B1 and B2 visitor visa to be applied for in the home country of the petitioner, it might not be a bad idea to have a copy of them faxed to an immigration lawyer here to be certain that everything looks solid.
B1 and B2 Visitor Visa: How Long is it Valid?
Typically B1 and B2 visitor visa allow entry for six months, though the maximum is for a year, from date of original entry to the country. Once here, it can be possible to extend the visa for an additional six months – an immigration attorney can assist with this – as long as the petitioner will be remaining in visitor status and there are legitimate reasons to extend the stay.