What is the difference between B1 and B2 US visa? If you are familiar with US visa policy, you would know that these visas are the most common visas people apply for because they are short-term non-immigrant visas. Despite being in the same category, they are as different as they are similar because they serve two different purposes. If you are planning a short trip to the US, you need to be aware of their differences so you don’t apply for the wrong visa. We explain their differences below and then leave you to make the right choice.
The US B Visa
US visas are differentiated using letters of the alphabet for easy identification, and the B visa is just one out of the long line of US visa categories. The Category B visa is a short-term non-immigrant visa issued to foreigners from non-visa-exempt countries to the US. The visa allows the holder to stay in the country for up to 180 days per visit and may be valid for up to 10 years. There are two types of B visas the B1 and B2 visas. We explain them below.
US B1 Visa
The B1 visa is a business visa issued to persons coming to the US for business engagements. This visa is not work but mainly for non-commercial activities like consulting, attending business meetings, settling estates, negotiating contracts, and any non-commercial activity that will attract a financial reward. The visa allows business visitors to spend six months or less in the country and not a day more. Persons caught lying about the duration of their activities with the hope that they will be given an extension of their stay in the US will be denied future visas.
US B2 Visa
The B2 visa is solely for tourism and leisure activities.
You can use this visa to enter the US to visit family, get medical treatment, partake in classes and retreats, visit family, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the US. This visa cannot be used for commercial activities or converted into a long-term migrant visa.
What Is The Difference Between B1 and B2 US Visa?
The difference between the B1 and B2 visas depends on what they are used for. While B1 is strictly a commercial visa, B2 is strictly for leisure. However, some persons are issued B1 and B2 visas to engage in both activities during their visit to the United States. Combination visas are rare but exist and are issued to people who qualify for them.
Do All Foreigners Need A US B Visa?
Only some people coming to the US require this visa to enter the country. Persons from visa-exempt countries who plan to spend less than three months in the country do not need a visa for the US; they need a visa waiver called an ESTA. The visa waiver program had some restrictions but was easy to obtain. With a waiver, eligible travelers can apply for ESTA and have their application approved before flying into the US and entering with just their passport and ESTA. However, only persons from selected countries qualify for visa-free entry, so check if your country is one of them.
How To Get B1 B2 Visa?
To get the B1 B2 visa, you must approach the US embassy in your country, but before you do that, you must do the following.
Fill out the visa application form: You must fill out the form called the DS-160. This form can be submitted online with a suitable photograph that meets US photo requirements for visas.
Schedule An interview: After submitting your application, you can schedule an interview with the embassy unless you are above 80 years or under 14 years. The interview is where you will meet the consulate officer at the embassy or consulate one on one.
Pay An Application Fee: The next step is to pay an application fee for the visa application. The fee is $160, which is different from any other service fee you may need to pay during the process. The fee should be paid using the method outlined by the embassy in your country.
Get your documents: You should attend all the documents you will need at this point, such as your birth, marriage or death certificate, passport, copy of application form, and any other document required by the embassy in your country.
Go for the interview: You should go for the interview on the set date with your documents as evidence. The consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are financially capable of covering your bills in the country, have strong ties with your home country, and whether you have every intention of coming back home. After the short interview, you can leave while your documents are forwarded for processing.