Tourist visa for the USA – B2 visa
Obtaining a U.S. B2 visitor visa allows you to travel to the United States for tourism purposes. It also allows entry into the United States for commercial or medical reasons.
For a tourist stay of less than 90 days: It is not necessary to obtain a B2 visa, it is enough to make an Internet request for an Electronic Travel Authorization ESTA issued by the United States. To obtain your certificate in a few minutes click on the online form.
What is the B2 tourist visa USA
The B2 visa is the most requested U.S. visa by foreign nationals. This is a non-immigrant visa that allows entry into the United States for tourism or business purposes. Holders of a B2 tourist visa can mainly perform the following activities in the United States:
- Visiting the US territory as a tourist;
- Visit family or friends living in the USA;
- Performing medical examinations or treatments
- attend charity events;
- Participate in a sporting or musical event without being paid.
If you are planning to travel to the U.S. for another specific purpose, you must obtain a different type of U.S. visa. The second most popular American visa is the B1 business visa. It allows entry into the United States to negotiate a contract or attend business-related conferences.
If your stay in the U.S. is less than 90 days you should check if you need an ESTA or visa to travel. These two travel authorizations are different and do not allow you to do the same things in the United States. For more information you can consult our page on the difference between ESTA and visa.
Image of the B2 visitor visa
What are the criteria for obtaining a B2 tourist visa
In order to apply for a B2 visitor’s visa for the USA, you must at least meet the following main requirements:
- The reason for your trip must correspond to the reasons for visit authorized for the B2 visa. The B2 visa does not allow you to work in the USA. If you plan to work in the United States you will need to obtain a U.S. work visa beforehand;
- Your financial means should easily allow you to cover your stay in the United States;
- You must prove that you intend to return to your home country before your visa expires and that you do not plan to stay in the United States.
- You must be fully vaccinated against COVID 19.
How to apply for a B2 tourist visa
Here are the main steps to apply for a B2 tourist visa for the United States:
- Complete the DS-160 form online;
- Pay the visa application fee online;
- Make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy for your interview with a consular officer;
- Gather all the required supporting documents;
- Go to the interview at the embassy to finalize your visa application.
Complete the DS-160 application form
This entire process is done online via the Internet. Simply complete the DS-160 form on the Internet. This form is very clear and easy to complete. You fill in your personal information and specify the reason for your stay in the USA. Once the B2 visa application form is completed you can submit your application online. You will then obtain a personal code so that you can attach all the supporting documents.
How to pay the mandatory B2 visa fee
The fee associated with a B2 tourist visa application is $160. You must pay this fee in order to validate your visa application online. There are also sometimes additional fees that are called “visa issuance fees”. These additional taxes are specific to certain countries. Don’t forget to include your payment receipts with your visa application.
Schedule the interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Each visa application requires an interview at the U.S. Embassy with a consular officer. To obtain this interview, you must schedule it with the U.S. Embassy in your country. Due to the high workload at embassies, be sure to schedule maintenance as soon as possible. When your interview request is approved, you will receive an interview confirmation letter that you will need to bring to the interview.
What supporting documents do you need to submit with your B2 visa application?
The list of supporting documents for a visa application is hardly exhaustive. Indeed, you must provide all the documents able to illustrate and justify your visa application. These documents will justify the granting of the visa and must be brought to your interview at the embassy.
Here is the list of minimum documents required for a B2 visa application:
- Be in possession of a valid US passport;
- Bring a passport photo that complies with U.S. visa standards;
- To have written precisely all the descriptive elements of the reason of your trip;
- Keep the receipt for the DS-160 form and the personal code;
- Enclose visa fee receipt – $160;
- Have a confirmed appointment at the embassy or consulate;
- Have proof of financial resources to stay in the USA. This may include your recent bank statements;
- Your employment contract in your home country to prove that you will return to live there after your stay in the USA;
- The existence of a letter of invitation from a U.S. resident is always an additional positive element;
- Any evidence such as a criminal record that proves the non-existence of a past conviction.
How the interview goes at the US Embassy
Your interview at the embassy will take place for a few minutes in the presence of a U.S. consular officer. During the interview, the officer will ask you questions about your background and your reasons for wanting to come to the United States. The details of your application and supporting documents will be reviewed to ensure compliance. At the end of the interview you will receive the acceptance or refusal to issue you a visa.
Time required to obtain a B2 visa
The processing time for a B2 tourist visa application in the USA varies depending on the country of application. They depend primarily on the workload of the U.S. Embassy where you applied. However, it takes at least several weeks.
Duration of validity of the B2 visa
The duration of validity of the visa is different depending on the visa chosen. The duration can be from 1 year to 10 years depending on the visa. However, each stay is for a maximum of 6 months. During this time, you can travel to the United States or elsewhere. However, as soon as your visa expires you must return to your country of origin.