Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

Here are some examples of activities permitted with a visitor for pleasure visa:


  • tourism

  • vacation (holiday)

  • visit with friends or relatives

  • medical treatment

  • participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations

  • participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating

  • enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)




You must demonstrate the following in order to be eligible to obtain a B-1 visa:


  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for pleasure

  • You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time

  • You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States

  • You have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit

  • You are otherwise admissible to the United States




You will need to complete Form DS-160 to apply for the B-2 Visa.  Aliens seeking a B-2 visa from certain countries may be able to enter the United States without a visa. 


If you are in the United States in another valid nonimmigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-2 status.  To change to B-2 status, you must file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. 




Initial Period of Stay: 1 to 6 months; 6 months is the maximum 

Extension of Stay: Up to 6 months; maximum total amount of time permitted in B-1 status on any one trip is generally 1 year.


At the port of entry, an immigration official must authorize your admission to the United States, and, if you are eligible for admission, you may be admitted initially for the period necessary to carry out your business activities, up to a maximum period of 1 year.  If you who wish to stay beyond the time indicated on the Form I-94 without departing from the United States, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and submit any required supporting documents to USCIS.




Your spouse and children are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. Each of your dependents who will be accompanying or following to join you must apply separately for a B-2 visa and must follow the regulations for that visa.