This category is for individuals wishing to visit the United States temporarily, either for business or pleasure. These individuals must:
- maintain a foreign residence abroad to which they plan to return at the termination of their stay in the United States;
- provide evidence of how they will support themselves during their stay without having to resort to local employment; and
- show that they have sufficient ties to their home countries to ensure their return at the termination of their stay.
Work and study in the United States are prohibited in the temporary visitor category.
"Pleasure," under the B-2 category is defined as "legitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature."
"Business" under the B-1 category refers to "conventions, conferences, consultations and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature"; but it does not involve "local employment or labor for hire," i.e., gainful employment in the United States.
For additional activities permitted in the temporary visitor category, see Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) §41.31.
Application for the visa is made at a U.S. consular office, usually without documentation other than the passport in which the visa is endorsed. It requires no preliminary petition to another agency and usually results in issuance the same day. For an alien otherwise eligible for "B" classification, the consul may exact the posting of a bond to insure departure by the end of the time for which the alien has been admitted or upon failure to maintain status.
Visitors are to be admitted initially for a period not to exceed one year. Even if less time is required, a visitor for pleasure (B-2), whose passport has the required validity and who is otherwise admissible, is to be granted, initially, at least six months. In individual cases the District Director, or designated supervisory inspector, may for good cause limit admission to a shorter period, notably, if the alien does not possess or have access to funds sufficient to maintain a six-month visit. The B-1 is to be admitted for a period fair and reasonable for the purpose of the trip, and not for a lesser time than required except on authority of a supervisor.
Extensions of stay in B-1 or B-2 are limited to increments of six months except that certain visitors coming to do missionary work may have one-year extensions. No appeal lies from the denial of an extension application.