The B-2 visa allows the applicant to reside in the U.S. for private or tourist purposes. In particular, people who do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (visa-free entry) due their nationality may be interested in applying for the B-2 visa.
Travel for tourism purposes includes primarily vacations, family visits, medical treatments or even participation in social events.
Unlike visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program, however, the holder of the B-2 visa can stay longer than 90 days for a maximum of 180 days in the United States per entry. However, the B-2 visa does not authorize its holder to accept employment. The visa also precludes school or university education and internships.
The traveler must continue to have a permanent residence in their home country and plan to stay in the United States only temporarily. Applicants must have sufficient funds available to finance their entire stay in the United States. In addition, applicants must provide evidence of firm ties to their home country or their intention to return to this country.
In general, the B-2 visa remains valid for up to ten years after it is issued. However, the visa can also be limited to a shorter period of time. The period of validity of the visa is especially dependent on the nationality of the applicant. The holder of a B-2 visa can stay for a maximum of 180 days per entry (several times consecutively or at a time). These conditions apply to all visits until the visa has expired. After that the person must reapply for the visa at their U.S. consulate.
B-2 visa holders who stay in the U.S. for longer periods of time and make frequent entries may experience additional difficulties at the border, especially if the U.S. border officials suspect that the visa holder no longer has strong ties to their home country.
Applicants must appear in person for an interview at one of the authorized U.S. consulates. Basically, in addition to submitting the standard DS-160 form and providing proof of payment of the visa fee, the procedure requires the applicant to submit evidence of intention to return to their home country and the financial means to stay in the United States. The application is usually processed at the U.S. consulate in the applicant’s country of residence.