In this post, we bring you the top three mistakes to avoid when applying for a B-1/B-2 non-immigrant visa at a United States consulate or embassy abroad. All too often clients contact our office feeling distraught after receiving a B-1/B-2 visa denial from a consular official. The good news is that a B visa denial can be easily avoided by understanding the common mistakes that people make when pursuing the B nonimmigrant visa.
First, it is important to understand who is eligible to apply for a B non-immigrant visa.
B-1 versus B-2
The B-1 temporary business visitor visa is reserved for individuals who seek to travel to the United States for a temporary period to participate in a business activity of a commercial or professional nature. Examples of individuals who qualify for this type of visa include: individuals consulting with business associates, individuals negotiating contracts, settling an estate, participating in short term training, entrepreneurs who wish to travel to the United States to research the market for a potential business venture, individuals traveling for a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention, or conference, etc.
Individuals who typically apply for this type of visa are entrepreneurs and investors who wish to apply for an E-2 visa in the future and who need to visit the United States to research the market or other business activities relating to researching the viability of the business venture.
B-1 temporary business visitors may be eligible to remain in the United States anywhere from 1-6 months—with 6 months being the maximum. Ultimately, it will be up to the consular/embassy official to determine the length of your period of stay. Typically, applicants are granted an initial period of stay of 6 months. B-1 visa holders may extend their stay for an additional 6 months if it is necessary for them to remain in the United States for an extended period to complete their temporary business activity.
Similarly, the B-2 temporary visitor visa is reserved for individuals who wish to enter the United States temporarily for tourism, pleasure, or visitation. Examples of individuals who qualify for this type of visa include tourists, individuals who wish to visit friends, or relatives, individuals seeking medical treatment, amateur artists, musicians, or athletes who wish to participate in events or contests that do not provide compensation, and individuals who wish to enroll in a short recreational course of study that does not count for credit toward a degree. The length of stay granted to a B-2 temporary visitor is the same as that of a B-1 temporary business visitor.
Who may not apply for a B visa?
Individuals who wish to immigrate to the United States and remain in the United States permanently, or individuals who wish to study, seek employment, etc. may not apply for a B non-immigrant visa.
#1 Mistake to Avoid
To qualify for a B non-immigrant, visa the applicant must be prepared to prove to the US consular/embassy official that their trip to the United States will only be for a temporary purpose and that upon the conclusion of your trip you will be returning to your country of origin. This means that you must provide evidence demonstrating to the officer that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States, and that you will return to your country of origin upon the conclusion of your trip.
Such evidence includes proof of your strong ties to your country of origin such as: proof of residence abroad, employment abroad, academic enrollment abroad, property ownership, business operations or business ownership, familial ties abroad, a booked flight confirmation indicating that you plan to return to your home country, proof of residence abroad, proof of insurance abroad, proof of loan or other financial obligations abroad, ownership of assets abroad, etc.
The most common mistake people make when applying for the B visa is to that they either fail to provide any proof of their strong ties to their country of origin or the evidence they provide is unsatisfactory. The more proof of ties home you can provide, at the time of your interview, the more likely it will be that your B visa application will be approved.
#2 Mistake to Avoid
The second most common and equally important mistake is failing to present enough evidence to demonstrate that the visa applicant has enough funds to cover their trip throughout their proposed length of stay. Applicants must demonstrate to the consular/embassy official that they have adequate funds to cover their expenses for the entire trip. This is very simple to demonstrate, however time and time again applicants fail to present enough documentation proving that they can cover their expenses. Applicants can satisfy this requirement by presenting copies of their bank account statements for the last 6 months, or in the alternative may utilize I-134 Affidavit of Support to overcome any doubts or inadequacies, however the I-134 must be used with caution, since the form is typically not associated with the B-1/B-2 visa.
#3 Mistake to Avoid
The third most common mistake is failing to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the trip will only be temporary.
To overcome any inadequacies, applicants must prepare a written statement explaining, in detail, the reasons for their temporary stay in the United States including:
- the nature/reason for your trip specifically, i.e. whether it be to visit tourist attractions, spend time with family, or for medical treatment, explain the situation in detail whatever it may be. Be specific!
- what arrangements you have made for your tourist visit, including a detailed explanation of what you will be doing during your length of stay with dates and locations if possible;
- what you plan on doing during your visit with proof
- why the stay would be temporary, referencing your obligations abroad (proof of ties home)
- what arrangements have been made to depart the United States with proof
- how much time you will be in the United States with proof of your temporary stay
Avoiding these common mistakes will put you in a good position to receive your B non-immigrant visa and avoid any disappointment in the future.
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