Temporary Non-Immigrant Visas Lawyers in Seattle

Providing Legal Services for Clients Wishing to Visit the United States

If you are a foreign citizen planning a visit to the United States on a temporary basis, you will likely need a non-immigrant visitor visa. The B-1 and B-2 visas are among the most popular visas for those wishing to enter the United States temporarily for business or personal reasons, such as vacations or visiting a friend.

The attorneys at Stelmakh & Associates, LLC go over some of the most common questions about the B-1 and B-2 visas and explain how a temporary non-immigrant visa lawyer can help you prepare a successful application for a temporary visa to the United States.

What Are the Differences Between the B-1 and the B-2 Visas?

The B1 and B2 Tourist Visa are temporary and traditional visas affixed on the passport’s visa page. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows the passport holder to travel for tourism and business purposes to the United States. In general, the B-2 category is meant for those coming to the country for tourism, such as someone visiting a family member or friend during the holidays, a patient visiting the United States for medical treatment, or someone who plans to participate in a sports or music event or competition for which they wouldn’t receive any payment.

In contrast, the B-1 visa is meant for those coming to the United States for business purposes. It is not a work visa and does not allow for employment, but it allows the visitor to carry out business-related activities for a limited period, such as attending conferences, meeting with clients, or networking. In some cases, it is possible to obtain a B-1/B-2 visa if you can demonstrate that your trip to the United States is for both business and pleasure purposes.

How Do You Apply for a B-1 or B-2 Visa?

In order to obtain a temporary visitor visa, you will need to apply with the U.S. Consulate with jurisdiction over the place where you live. You will need to fill out the visa applications and pay any required fees, which may vary from country to country. Be prepared to present all supporting documents, including financial documents and proof of foreign residence, as well as your passport, which should be valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay period in the U.S.

In addition, you will also need to include the required passport-sized photos along with detailed information regarding the purpose and nature of their trip. You may be required to appear for an interview at your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Typically, you will learn the result of your application at the end of your interview. If your visa application is approved, the appropriate visa stamp will be affixed to your passport.

How Long Can You Stay in the United States With a B-1 or B-2 Visa?

Once you receive your B-1 or B-2 visa and travel to the United States, you should present the passport and visa to the USCIS officer at the airport or port of entry. You will then have your photos and fingerprints taken, and if all goes well, you will be admitted to the United States for a specific period of time.

While it is completely up to the officer at the port of entry to decide how long you may stay in the United States, those with a B-1 business visa are typically admitted to the U.S. for the specific period of time required for the completion of the purpose of the applicant’s trip. That means you may be allowed to stay between one to six months, not to exceed the maximum period of 1 year.

In contrast, a B-2 visa holder generally gets admitted for about six months, irrespective of whether the visitor’s intended stay length is shorter than six months or not. The immigration officer is licensed to lengthen the stay period to about a year in case more time is required for the circumstances.

What Kind of Supporting Documents Should I Bring for My B-1 or B-2 Visa Interview?

In order to have a successful visitor visa interview, it is important to bring all required documents and be prepared to answer the consular officer’s questions in a courteous manner. Examples of documents you may need to bring can include:

  • Your passport
  • A visa photo
  • Form DS-160 confirmation
  • Receipt of the paid visa fees
  • Your interview confirmation page
  • A letter describing your trip and its purpose
  • Financial Proof
  • Criminal records (if any)
  • Documents relevant to prior visits
  • Transcripts or proof that you are attending school or college in your home country
  • A letter from your employer

In general, the consular office is looking for sufficient proof that you have enough financial means to cover the costs associated with your stay and that you plan to return to your country of origin and will not remain unlawfully present in the United States after your stay. Bringing documents showing ties with your country of origin (such as proof of employment or transcripts showing you are attending school) and financial documents, such as bank statements showing you have the funds for your trip, are usually beneficial for your application. During your interview, it is important to remain calm, answer all the consular officer’s questions, and be prepared to show them all relevant documents concerning your trip and your ties to your home country.

If you are applying for a visitor visa to the United States for the first time, the attorneys at Stelmakh & Associates, LLC are happy to assist you. The long list of forms and documents required may seem overwhelming, but our legal team is very familiar with the application process for temporary visitor visas to the United States and can help you navigate the whole visa application process with ease. Contact our office in Seattle at 206-558-6288 to learn more.

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