The Difference Between B-1 and B-2 Visa

People travelling abroad for the first time often ask what a B-1 and B-2 visa means and the difference between both. You will find all you need to know about B1 and B-2 visas and their different purposes here.

The Difference Between Visa B-1 and B-2 Visa

Visas are documents needed when travelling internationally and are categorized according to the purpose of the trip and the timeline attached to them. There are of different types and the B-1 and B-2 visas are part of them.

What Are B-1 Visas?

This type of visa is issued to people who want to travel to the United States for business purposes. They allow one to stay in the country for a fixed period and grant them access to attend business lectures, conferences, contract negotiations and other business-related matters.

What Are B-2 Visas?

A B-2 or tourist visa allows one to visit a country for vacation, visitation or tourism purposes. This visa gives one access to a country to participate in an event, tour the country or visit family or friends. The B-2 visa is also known as a tourist visa.

What Are The Similarities Between B-1 and B-2 Visa?

Both visas share several similarities but are distinguished by a few factors. Their similarities include:

They Are Non-immigrant Visa

They are known as non-immigration visas. They are temporary visas which deny one to reside permanently in the country. They are also known as visitor visas.

Multiple Entry Visas

The B1 and B2 visas are multiple entry visas which implies that they can be used to enter the country occasionally for the purposes they were given out. Also, they are valid for ten years and can be used several times a year while they are valid.

Tourist and visitor visas can also be combined to form the B1B2  visa and allow the holder to do both purposes of business, vacations and tourism.

The Difference Between B-1 and B-2 Visas

The B1 visa is used only for business purposes such as conferences, job contracts and consultations, negotiations, seminars or lectures. Tourist or b-2 visas are used for entry for tourism, visiting, medical or recreational purposes.

What Are The Requirements For Issuing Of The B1/B2 Visas In the United States?

For one to be given a visitor visa, they have to go through the necessary steps which include:

Filling in the form DS-160

Filling in the form DS-160 is the first step to take when applying for a visa, the form contains the application for the non-immigration visa section which needs to be filled with your personal information and the purpose of your visit to the U.S. A confirmation page is sent afterwards, which needs to be stored for future reference.


Paying Of The Application Fee

An application fee is then paid. The general fee for a visitor visa is $185 but varies amongst countries and is determined by your country’s relations with the United States.

Visa Interview

After the fee is paid, an interview date is scheduled with the U.S. embassy in your country. The interview is meant to physically interview you and learn more about the purpose of your visit. If you are given the visa, an official will ask all the necessary questions to determine your intent to return to your home country.

Compile Your Documents

During your interview, you will be asked to present documents for the application for a U.S. visa and specific documents for granting a U.S. visitor’s visa. The  important documents for the issuance of a visitor visa are:

  • Proof of funds to cover all the travel expenses, accommodation and living cost
  • Evidence of ties to your country such as job, business, family or properties
  • A passport valid six months after a return date
  • A digital photograph 

In conclusion, a B1/B2 or visitor visa is the visa you need when travelling abroad for a limited period. Tourist visas are also easily granted and are to be used wisely. Visitors are to respect the stipulated time limit stamped on their visa on arrival in the country as exceeding your stay can incur several legal punishments.

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