Applying for a B-2 visa can be confusing. Here are the steps you need to get started.
For anyone lucky enough to be a citizen of one of the nearly 40 countries enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program (or Canada, for that matter), entering the US is as simple as arriving at US customs and getting your passport stamped. However, if you're not from Canada or a VWP country, you need to apply for a visa in advance. While the B-1 visa is for business travellors, this article discusses the B-2 visa, which is generally available to visitors travelling to the US for tourism, medical treatment, visiting friends or relatives and other non-business related reasons. Like the B-1 visa, the B-2 visa is generally valid for 90 days.
Complete online Form DS-160 Application for Nonimmigrant Visa.
The application fee is $160 for a B-2 visitor visa. Review the website of the US embassy or consulate where you will apply for instructions about fee payment. Be sure to keep the receipt from this fee payment, because you will need it to schedule your visa interview.
When you complete your application online you will be required to upload a passport-style photograph of yourself. The file must be in JPEG format. You could also take an actual photo and have it scanned. Please be sure to follow the detailed Digital Image Requirements.
At your visa interview, you will be asked to prove that you only intend to remain in the US for a limited time. You can prove this by providing copies of your return travel reservation or evidence of time-sensitive activities you need to engage in after returning. If you are coming to the US for an incubator or accelerator program, provide proof that the program is of limited duration.
At your visa interview, you will be asked to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in the US without working. Proof can include bank account statements, proof of cash on hand, documentation regarding your credit limit, or evidence of other means to pay for your expenses. Also submit receipts for expenses that have already been paid, such as ticketed air travel.
If you have a contact person such as a family member in the US whom you will be visiting, the contact person can submit Form I-134 to demonstrate that they will cover some or all of your expenses during your stay in the US.
At your visa interview, you will be asked to provide proof of social and economic ties in your country. Proof can include documentation of foreign bank accounts, a mortgage or rental agreement for your residence abroad, foreign property owned, family members outside the US, employment outside the US, or legal commitments outside the US.
At your visa interview, provide proof that your planned activities in the US fall into the category of a visitor. If you have booked a group tour in the US, provide the itinerary and confirmation for your reservation.
If you will be visiting family members, you can have them write invitation letters outlining their plans with you during your visit. If you are coming to the US for medical treatment, show proof of pre-arranged appointments with physicians in the US as well as medical records of any diagnosis and treatment you have received in your home country or elsewhere.
If you are already lawfully in the US in another status, you can change to the business visitor category without going abroad. If you chose this option, you do not need to file Form DS-160. Instead, file Form I-539 and pay the $290 filing fee, which must be paid by check or money order payable to US Department of Homeland Security. Submit the other types of proof on this list with your Form I-539.
Any document that you submit in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation. The translator must attach a statement declaring that he or she is competent to translate and that the translation is accurate and complete. The certification format should include the certifier's name, signature, address, and date of certification.