The B-2 Visitor Visa is a tourist visa to the USA. This is a nonimmigrant visa issued to people entering the USA temporarily for tourism, pleasure, and medical treatment. Anyone who intends to attend a special family ceremony and function or medical treatment can also qualify for this Visa.
The process of applying and acquiring a B-2 visa is demanding. There are many legal requirements that you must meet, which are not easy to achieve alone. However, an experienced immigration attorney can walk you through the correct process of applying for your B-2 Visa without mistakes that would derail you the chance of obtaining it. Contact California Immigration Attorney and let us help you with your B-2 Visa application process.
What You Should Know About B-2 Tourism, Vacation, and Pleasure Visitor Visa
As defined above, B-2 Visa is a type of Visa issued to aliens who intend to visit the United States for the sole purpose of tourism, vacation, or pleasure. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act(INA), a pleasure visitor is referred to as an alien having a residence in a foreign country who intends to visit the U.S. for temporary pleasure or visit. Coming to the U.S. for fun includes the following activities:
- Taking a tour of the U.S.
- Taking a vacation in the U.S.
- Attending a social event
- Take part in an unpaid event or contest related to music or sports
Your B-2 Visa must be approved after applying and having it stamped in your passport. This does not mean that once you start the application process that your request will be automatically granted. There are possibilities of having your application denied, subject to several reasons.
Meaning of Visiting the U.S. for Pleasure
Under the U.S. Department regulations, pleasure activities that qualify a person for a B-2 Visa are described as follows: Legitimate activities of a recreational character such as amusement, tourism, visit friends and relatives, medical treatment, and activities of social, fraternal, and service nature.
Under this definition, there are many activities like sightseeing, attending conferences, and taking short classes that qualify as pleasure activities that make an applicant eligible for a B-2 Visa. However, it does not allow visits to work for pay even when there is no payment guarantee like prize money. For instance, traveling to the United States to participate in an athletic competition that guarantees a cash prize would not be allowed under the B-2 Visa application process.
Visiting the United States for pleasure does not include business activities like attending trade conventions, selling international products, serving as a minister, consulting, or working as a press-member. Finally, an intention to commit a crime does not qualify an applicant to visit the United States no matter how pleasurable the rest of their planned visit.
The Not-So-Pleasurable Aspects That Qualify in a B-2 Tourist Visa Application Process
Apart from the activities described above, there are some not-so-pleasurable uses of the B-2 Visa. For instance, someone accompanying a visitor with a B-1 Visa or other temporary visa holders can be granted a B-2 Visa.
Similarly, the household or family members of someone coming with a temporary visa and does not fall under the "derivative status" and cannot acquire an automatic Visa of their own as their child or spouse can be granted this Visa. Not all U.S. Visas allow children or spouses to come as derivatives, making the B-2 Visa the best option to avoid family separation.
Another not-so-pleasurable scenario that can allow the use of a B-2 Visa is when someone wants to get married in the U.S. but is not planning to apply for a green card or staying. Students looking for potential colleges and schools can also use the B-2 Visa if they plan to return to their home country before enrolling. However, they should be clear that these intentions are clear to avoid being accused of visa fraud once they enroll in a school immediately without leaving the U.S.
Finally, those that have served in the U.S. military and are eligible for U.S. citizenship can use the B-2 Visa to access the United States to submit their citizenship application.
The requirement for B-2 Tourism, Vacation, and Pleasure Visitor Visa
Applicants must prove to their home country's consular officer that they qualify for the B-2 Visa as per the requirements provided by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The following ways prove that an applicant has met INA’s standards.
Proving that Your Intended Purpose is to Visit the U.S.
You can use a written proof of your hotel arrangements and documents proving that you will be leaving the United States at the end of your stay. A return plane ticket can also be suitable proof of your sole purpose to visit the United States.
Proving that You Will Be Staying in the U.S. for a Limited Period
When applying for a B-2 visa, you will have to show the consular officer that your plan to visit the U.S. is followed by a plan to leave again. You can use maps and schedules to show that your length of stay is something real like an itinerary or a planned event, and there is no desire to stay for long. That's why you should think about what you intend to accomplish while in the U.S. and assign enough time to cover this.
Proving that You Have Sufficient Funds to Cover your Expenses
B-2 Visa applicants must convince the consulate that they will not seek employment or survive on public welfare once they arrive in the United States. Depending on your situation, you might use the following to prove your ability to cover your expenses:
- Form 1-134, Affidavit Support from a friend or relative residing in the United States
- A letter from a relative or a friend inviting you to visit him or her in the U.S. The letter should state that you are welcomed to stay with him or her.
- Evidence of your current source of income
- Personal financial statement
- Bank statements showing that you have accessible cash
It is crucial to know about Form 1-134 as one of the requirements needed to support sufficient funds to cover your expenses. This form is submitted to prove that someone living in the United States is willing to take the financial responsibility on your behalf. The person signing the affidavit should be a U.S. citizen or a green card holder or has other long-term United States' immigration status like asylee or refugee.
When you request someone to sign this affidavit, they should know the extent of the legal scope and the financial obligation of signing the form. The document does not mean that the person will be supporting you but promises that person will repay the government for any governmental support that you receive. The affidavit of Support binds the signee for three years, though it is believed that the form is usually flawed and courts would not enforce it.
Proving Your Residence and Other Ties to Your Home Nation
The most challenging requirement for most B-2 applicants is proving that they intend to return to their home country at the end of your visit. This requirement expects applicants to have a residence in their home country and other reasons to compel them to return to their home country at the end of the visit. These compelling forces include a stable job, a family, or a house.
Proving that You Can Re-Enter Your Country or a Foreign Country after You Leave the United States
The United States government does not want to be stuck with tourists without a place to go afterward. Therefore, you should have your country's passport to prove that you are planning to return, and there are no unusual circumstances that would hinder you from returning.
If you are traveling to a third-world country after your visit, be prepared to prove that you have permission to enter that country.
Proving Your Ability to Pay for Your Visit and Departure
Every day that you spend in the United States is going to cost you money. Things like food, tickets, rental cars, and hotel stay will add up fast, and the United States government is aware of this. Therefore, you will have to prove that you are saving to cover your trip expenses or someone else will be responsible for your costs. Do some research and find out exactly how much you will be spending and how you can afford it to avoid finding it challenging to prove your financial ability.
B-2 Visa Application Process
Applying for a B-2 visitor's Visa is relatively straightforward and goes through much of a similar process as other nonimmigrant visas. This means that you have to apply at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country. The following steps need to be followed while applying for this Visa.
Filling the DS-160 Form
Form DS-160 is an online nonimmigrant visa application form that should be filled by anyone required to visit the United States. It has several sections depending on the type of U.S. Visa that you are applying for. Find the section for the B-2 visitors' Visa and fill the necessary spaces. The form will ask about your background, personal information, and the purpose of your U.S. visit. In the end, you will get a confirmation page and code, which you should retain for later use.
You can fill the DS-160 form online through the Consular Electronic Application Center or use a third-party service company.
Paying the U.S. Visitor Visa Application Fee
It costs about $160 to apply for a U.S. visitor's Visa. You might also pay additional fees like visa issuance fees depending on your country's type of relationship with the United States.
Scheduling a Visitor Visa Interview
All Visa applicants aged 14 to 79 years must attend a U.S. visitor Visa interview with an official of the U.S. embassy or consulate that you are applying for the Visa in. You cannot schedule an interview if you have not filled the DS-160 form first. Once you have submitted this form, it might take a few days or weeks to complete the application, depending on the embassy or consulate's workload. Once they finish processing the form, they will make an appointment.
If you cannot schedule an appointment after paying your visitor's fee, you should contact your nearest embassy for further information.
Please note, your interview appointment is a two-part process that consists of an Offsite Facilitation Center to give your biometric information and a second appointment with the embassy or consulate for a personal visa interview.
There are particular supporting documents that you should bring while attending your scheduled interview. This includes:
- A valid passport and passport number
- Visa application fees' payment receipt number
- Your email address
- Proof of your financial means that includes a financial statement that proves that you can afford at least $266 for every day that you plan to stay
- Ties to your home country such as property deeds, job contract, lease, and family
- An optional United States visa invitation letter from a friend or family member living in the United States
- Criminal records or relevant letters from the authority that proves that you have no prior conviction
- Documents relevant to your prior U.S. visits
- Letter from a doctor on your diagnosis and treatment
- Social medial details
Attending the Visa Interview
On the date of your interview, ensure that you are on time for your interview. You might spend time waiting in a queue to attend the interview, but it is advisable to arrive at least ten minutes earlier rather than being late.
Once you enter a United States consulate or embassy, you will have to go through a full-body scan using a security detector. You will then receive an interview token and provide your fingerprints before you are directed to the next step.
Wait patiently at the lounge area until your turn. Your name will be called out during your turn. This makes it crucial to arrange your documents early to avoid a mess after meeting the interviewer. The interviewer will ask you questions related to your background and the reasons why you intend to visit the United States, which you should answer promptly and correctly.
Reasons Why Your B-2 Visa Application Can Be Denied
The U.S. government is serious about ensuring that visitors use their visas for their rightful purpose and do not stay in the U.S. more than the permitted period. Therefore, particular reasons can make an application to be denied entry to the United States during a B-2 Visa application. These reasons are as follows:
Inability to Prove Nonimmigrant Intent
As stated above, there are particular requirements that an applicant should prove to have a chance of getting a B-2 Visa. Therefore, if applicants cannot prove their nonimmigrant intent, they can be denied the possibility of acquiring a B-2 Visa. For instance, failure to provide relevant bank statements, travel itinerary, and a plane ticket can significantly affect your application process.
The answers that you give during the interview are also essential in your application process. In case you throw a hint that you intend to find a job in the U.S. during your stay, this might render you the chance of being granted the B-2 Visa.
Some applicants can be tempted to lie or cover specific facts related to their B-2 Visa application. For instance, they might deny a past criminal activity or lie about having a family member in the United States. These two scenarios are an example of visa fraud and can deny you your B-2 Visa.
Additionally, if you have ever provided false information during your past application, you might be denied your current visa application.
Denial Due to Criminal Record
Applicants with a history of espionage, criminal history, or a link with a terrorist group have a strong chance of having their B-2 Visa request denied. However, not all crimes can cause your denial, but many of them are involved, and the list can be challenging to interpret. That's why it is recommendable to engage a professional immigration attorney in your application process.
Denial Due to Past Immigration Violation
Anyone with a history of overstaying in more than the permitted period in your past U.S. visit, you might find it difficult persuading the consular officer that you won't violate your new Visa.
Please note, if your unlawful presence in the United States added up to 180 months or more, you would face an automatic bar to enter into the United States for three years. That number could go up to ten years when your authorized period of stay was a year or more.
Denial Due to Grounds of Inadmissibility
U.S. immigration laws have a long list of reasons that make applicants inadmissible or ineligible for a B-2 Visa. For instance, the United States government can deny applicants found to have an illness of public significance like tuberculosis, drug addicts, or have been deported the chance of a B-2 tourist Visa.
Overconfidence During Your Interview
Expressing extreme confidence or being too assertive on Visa application process aspects can make you appear arrogant and presumptuous. Therefore, you should avoid presenting yourself as a 'wise guy' or a 'know-it-all' person.
Too Many Details During your Interview
You should expect an array of questions during your Visa application interview. It is crucial to maintain well-thought-out answers that are simple and conscious. Divulging into irrelevant details that are not direct to the inquiry can raise suspicion or red flags that can lead to your Visa denial.
Sometimes language barriers, dialects, or various accents can leave you confused. In the end, this can lead to misinterpretation or misunderstanding of some crucial facts that can cause a denial of your Visa.
Steps that You Should Follow after a B-2 Visa Denial
There are chances of having your B-2 Visa denied no matter how strict you follow the application process. Visa denial can be confusing and might leave you wondering why the United States government refused your application and what you should do. Even so, you can follow specific steps to understand better why your application was denied and decide whether it is recommendable to reapply for the Visa. Below are a few steps that you can follow.
Determine Why Your Visa was Denied
It is essential to understand why your visa application was denied before you decide to reapply. You will receive a denial letter after the interview, providing details that will help you know what was wrong.
In most cases, the letter might specify that your application was refused under the INA section 214(b), which means that you did not convince the consular officer that you intend to return to your country at the end of your visit. Fortunately, this refusal is not permanent, meaning that you can qualify in the future.
However, there are serious reasons that can deny you the opportunity of a B-2 Visa. Most of them are based on Visa ineligibility factors like past, deportation, and criminal conviction. Your ineligibility can be waived if the officer is satisfied that you have strong ties to your country that qualifies you for the Visa application.
Contact the U.S. Consular, Embassy, or an Immigration Attorney
If you can still not figure out why the United States government denied your Visa, you can seek clarification from your country's U.S. Consulate or Embassy. You can use the public inquiry email provided at the embassy or consulate to make your clarification.
Contacting a United States immigration attorney can also be a suitable option to resolve your B-2 Visa denial. A United States’ attorney receives a faster and clear response from the consulate or embassy detailing why your application was turned down through their inquiry channels with the State Department that are solely reserved for them. An attorney can give you accurate information about why your application was rejected and recommend whether it is worth reapplying and the right time to do so.
Find a B-2 Visa Immigration Attorney Near Me
Applying for a B-2 visitor's Visa is challenging. There are several steps to consider and papers to file. That's why it is always recommendable to engage an immigration attorney in this process. An immigration attorney has the skill and in-depth knowledge of every application process and can guide you through this complicated process.
At California Immigration Attorney, we understand the complication that comes with your B-2 Visa application and are ready to use our experience and resources to help you. Contact us today at 424-789-8809 and let us help you achieve your dreams.