B-1 and B-2 visas are a type of non-immigrant visa that permits certain people to stay temporarily in the United States. B-1 visas are typically for people conducting business in the U.S., while B-2 visas are usually for tourists.
On this page, our Las Vegas NV immigration lawyers answer frequently-asked-questions about B-1 and B-2 visas. Scroll down or click on a topic below to learn more.
- What are B-1 visas in Las Vegas, NV?
- Am I eligible for a B-1 visa in Las Vegas, NV?
- How long can I stay in the U.S. on a B-1 visa in Las Vegas, NV?
- Do B-1 visas extend to my family in Las Vegas, NV?
- Can I work in the U.S. on a B-1 visa in Las Vegas, NV?
- What are B-2 visas in Las Vegas, NV?
- Do I need an interview for a B-2 visa in Las Vegas, NV?
A foreign citizen can often enter into the United States after he/she has obtained the proper visa from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The type of visa best for the individual depends upon the purpose of the visit.1 An individual will likely be qualified for a B-1 visa if he/she is going to participate in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the U.S. Examples include:
- Consulting with business associates;
- Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates;
- Settling an estate;
- Negotiating a contract;
- Participating in short-term training;
- Transiting through the U.S.; or
- Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the U.S. as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa.
For U.S. travel without a visa, see our article on the Visa Waiver Program in Nevada.
As with other immigration matters, the foreign citizen must meet various criteria to qualify for a B-1 visa:
- The reason for the foreigner’s trip must be to enter the U.S. for business of a legitimate nature;
- The individual has to intend to stay for a specific and limited period of time;
- The individual must have the money to pay the expenses of his/her trip and his/her stay in the U.S.;
- The individual must keep a residence in another country, and he/she must not intend to abandon that residence; and
- The individual is otherwise admissible to the U.S.
Application procedures vary with the country the individual is applying from.2
Typically, the initial period of stay is one to six (1-6) months. The individual may apply for an extension of stay that would last for up to another six (6) months. Therefore, the maximum total time permitted in B-1 status on any one trip is one (1) year. Note that the foreign citizen has to abide by certain guidelines according to his/her initial period of stay as well as an extension of stay.
Once the visa applicant arrives at the port of entry, an immigration official has the duty of authorizing the applicant’s admission. If considered qualified for admission, the individual will probably be admitted for the amount of time necessary to carry out business activities. If the individual needs longer than the maximum time permitted with a B-1 visa, he/she may file USCIS Form I-539 in order to ask for additional time.3
Note: Nobody should try to complete immigration forms on their own without a skilled immigration attorney. Everyone’s situation is unique, and non-citizens who attempt to obtain visas or green cards without legal counsel risk rejection due to an avoidable error.
Spouses and children are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa in this situation. Instead, each of the dependents who will be accompanying or following the B-1 visa holder must apply for a separate B-2 visa.4
Usually yes, though some situations exist which require separate employment authorization. These include:
- A personal or domestic servant who is accompanying or following to join an employer who seeks admission into, or is already in, the U.S. and has a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, or TN nonimmigrant classification;
- A domestic servant of a U.S. citizen who is accompanying or following to join his/her U.S. citizen employer who has a permanent residence or is stationed in a foreign country, and who is temporarily visiting the U.S.;
- An employee of a foreign airline engaged in international transportation of passengers freight, whose position with the foreign airline would otherwise entitle the employee to treaty trader nonimmigrant classification (E-1) and who is precluded from such category only because the employee is not a national of the country in the airline’s nationality or because there is no treaty of commerce and navigation in effect between the U.S. and the country of the airline’s nationality.
There are several requirements for obtaining a B-1 visa. Note that applicants for a B-1 visa for admission as a B-1 business visitor as a personal or domestic servant must show the following:
- The individual has a home abroad which he/she does not intend to abandon;
- The individual has at least one (1) year of work experience as a personal or domestic servant; and
- The individual must have been employed abroad by the employer for at least one (1) year prior to the employer’s admission into the U.S., or if the individual has been employed abroad by the employer for less than one (1) year, the employer must show that while abroad, he/she has regularly employed a personal servant in the same capacity as that intended for the individual’s employment.5
B-2 visas are intended for foreign citizens who want to enter the U.S. temporarily for tourism, pleasure, or visiting. Specifically, the following are included as reasons one would obtain a B-2 visa:
- Visit with friends or relatives;
- Medical treatment;
- Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations;
- Unpaid participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests; and
- Enrollment in a short recreational course of study that is not used as credit toward a degree.
There are also specific examples of what is not included in the B-2 visa category:
- Paid performances, or any professional performance done in front of an audience;
- Arrival as a crew member of a ship or aircraft;
- Work as foreign press, radio, film, journalism, and other information media; and
- Permanent residence in the U.S.6
Usually, eligible B-2 applicants are expected to participate in an interview. The interview is scheduled and conducted by a consular officer. The applicant has to show him/her relevant documentation, which typically includes a passport, photographs, and receipts showing all fees are paid.
During the interview, the consular officer is gathering information to decide whether the applicant is eligible for admission to the U.S. and to ensure that the applicant is applying for the correct visa. Once the interview is done, the officer can request additional information from the applicant.7
You may need an attorney…
If you or a loved one has immigration needs, be sure to call our Las Vegas immigration lawyers for a consultation.