An Overview of B-1 and B-2 Visas

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Join Chugh, LLP Attorneys Joy Dungca and Vandana Marath for an overview of B-1 and B-2 visas, which activities qualify for each visa, and which individuals may be eligible for each visa status.

What Activities are Allowed on B-1 Visas?

B-1 visas are designed for temporary business visitors. Business and commercial activities which qualify for the B-1 visa include:

  • Consulting with business colleagues.
  • Traveling for a specific convention or conference that covers scientific, education, professional, or business topics.
  • Settling an estate.
  • Negotiating a contract.
  • Participating in short-term training.
  • Transiting through the United States, for a destination outside of the US.
  • Deadheading, for certain air crew.

Certain domestic or personal employees may be eligible to travel in the US on B-1 visitors if they accompany:

  • A US citizen employer outside the US who is temporarily visiting the US, or
  • A foreign citizen employer on visa statuses including B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, or Q.

Proof Required to Secure a B-1 Visa

To be approved for a B-1 visa, you must be able to demonstrate that:

  • Your trip is for legitimate business purposes.
  • You plan to remain in the US for a limited, specific period.
  • You have enough funds to cover the cost of your trip and stay in the US.
  • You have binding ties outside of the US that you plan to return to after your visit is over.
  • You are admissible to the US.

Individuals may apply for a B-1 visa at US consulates abroad, or they can apply for a change of status if they are already present in the United States.

What Activities are Allowed on B-2 Visas?

B-2 visitor visas cover temporary travel into the United States for tourist purposes. These purposes may include:

  • Tourism.
  • Vacation.
  • Visits with relatives or friends.
  • Medical treatment.
  • Participation in social events held by service, fraternal, or social organizations.
  • Unpaid amateur participation in musical, sports, or similar events or contests.
  • Enrollment in a short recreational class which does not count toward a degree (such as a cooking class taken on vacation).

Certain activities are prohibited while on a B-2 visa. These include:

  • Studies.
  • Employment.
  • Paid performances.
  • Arriving as a crewmember on an aircraft or ship.
  • Media work, including for the foreign press, print journalism, radio, film, or similar information media.
  • Seeking permanent residence in the US.

Applying for a B-2 Visa

The process to apply for a B-2 visa is relatively simple. The steps include:

  1. Completing Form DS-160 online to apply at a US Consulate abroad. Be sure to upload your photo during the application process.
  2. Print the application form and bring it to your interview.
  3. Schedule and attend the interview.

Interviews are generally not required for individuals who are 13 and younger, or for those 80 and older.


For help applying for a temporary B-1 or B-2 visa, please contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration professional.


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