Any foreign citizen who wishes to enter the United States will require a visa and legal permits from the government. Without a valid visa and legal permission, an individual could be detained and may face severe legal consequences. You may have to hire a legal professional to fight your case. The outcome of the immigration process can affect your future and could lead to difficulties for you and your family members without proper representation. It is important to have legal permission to enter the United States, even if only temporarily.
In this article, we highlight the main differences between a B1 and B2 visa. If you are confused between the two, this guide will help you. It will also help you understand the B1 B2 visa application process and the differences between the two. Every visa comes with certain limitations and legal requirements. It is mandatory to follow the restrictions to stay compliant and lawful. Continue reading to understand the main differences between these two types of visas.
B1 Visa – Temporary Business Visitor Visa
A B1 vsa is a non-immigrant visa that is for someone who wants to enter into the country temporarily for business purposes. With a business B1 visa, holders have the liberty to engage in the following activities:
- Negotiate contracts
- Attend trade conferences
- Attend educational or business events
- Consult with U.S. based business associates
- Settle estates
One of the main benefits and features of this visa is that an individual can develop business relations without the longer, more in-depth permanent visa process. They can reapply for the visa when it is about to expire and visit the country as many times as necessary, provided they follow the law. This visa was designed to promote foreign commerce by enabling foreign businesses to meet the needs of U.S. stakeholders or potential business associates in the country. This type of visa is ideal for those who are looking for partners and wish to expand into the US.
B2 Visa – For Travel and Recreational Purposes
Another type of B-visa is the B2 visa. The B2 visa is also a temporary, non-immigrant visa; however, this visa does not encompass traveling for business or professional purposes. Rather, the B2 visa is ideal for those who want to visit the U.S. for travel, tourism, and recreational purposes. If you have friends or family members living in the country, you can apply for a B2 visa to enter the country legally.
B2 visa holders can engage legally in the following activities:
- A trip to the U.S. for pleasure (as opposed to business)
- Non-US citizens who wish to marry a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
- Participate in social events
- Amateur music or other entertainment performance
- Visit friends and family members living in the U.S.
- Receive medical treatment
While a B2 visa allows applicants to engage in the activities noted above, they may not be allowed to engage in any of the following activities under this visa:
- Educational study
- Long-term employment
- Work in the media industry
- Professional (paid) performances
- Permanent residence in the US
The activities above fall within other visa categories. Consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to learn more.
Both B1 visas and B2 visas are temporary visas granted for a maximum of six months. As mentioned above, multiple periods are allowed, and an applicant can reapply for a visa when a prior one has expired. If you want to start your business in the U.S., you should also look for a business immigration visa. For instance, an E2 visa is a Treaty Investor visa for applicants who wish to avail themselves of the U.S.’ entrepreneurial opportunities.
As of the time of this writing, the government filing fee for a B1 or B2 non-petition-based, nonimmigrant visa is $160, but this does not include the cost of gathering documents and meeting other legal requirements.
To be eligible for a B1 visa, an applicant must show that their primary purpose for traveling into the country is for business purposes. In addition, you will have to establish that you have enough funds to cover the expenses of the trip. On the other hand, for a B2 visa, you will have to show that the travel is temporary and the purpose is not related to business. You will have to show that you can support yourself while visiting the country.
You should gather all relevant documents and keep them ready before commencing the application process. Having all documentation up front will make the process smoother and less difficult for you.
Many individuals who possess extraordinary abilities in science, arts, business, or athletics can even apply under another category, called the O1 visa. These types of visas are valid for up to three years. Before beginning the process, you should learn about the different types of visas and their eligibility criteria. You can even get in touch with a reputable O1 visa lawyer or a B-visa lawyer for representation throughout the process.