What Is a B2 Visa?
The B2 visa, also referred to as a “tourist visa”, or “visitor visa”, allows entry into the U.S. for tourist activities, such as sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, obtaining medical treatment, attending conferences and meetings.
A holder of a tourist visa may engage in the following activities while in the United States:
- Visit for a vacation or holiday
- Visit friends and family that reside in the US
- Tour different cities and attractions of the United States
- Visit in order to receive medical treatment
- Participate events that are related to sports or music
- Take part in social events held by organizations
- Enroll in short-term courses for which you won’t be receiving any credit (for example, a cooking class)
B2 Visa Requirements
To qualify for the B2 travel visa, one must prove that:
- The purpose of the trip is to tour the U.S.
- The visitor has a permanent residence in their home country that they have no intention of abandoning
- The visitor has binding ties to their home country in the form of property, family, or a permanent job
- The visitor is not coming to the U.S. to provide services or engage in business activities that are primarily for the benefit of a U.S. employer
- The visitor has sufficient financial resources to fund the trip including all travel, accommodation and living expenses during their stay in the U.S.
What Is a B1 Visa?
A B1 Visa is very similar to the B2 but for the purpose of business. Not to be confused with a work visa, the B1 visa is suitable for short-term visits, less than 90 days, with no salary, for the purpose of lab observation, business meetings and conferences, training, medical clerkships, or one-time lectures. If the foreign national will conduct research, the B-1 is not appropriate.
Visiting Your Fiance on a Tourist Visa
While short-term visits are technically an allowable purpose of travel, in practice, an alien visiting the US for the sole purpose to see their fiance or boyfriend or girlfriend is looked at with tight scrutiny by USCIS and the Department of State. They assume you are attempting to circumvent the legal immigration process (a fiance visa in this case), and will deny these at will. So if your purpose of travel is to come to the US to meet your boyfriend or girlfriend (especially for the first time), you are almost certainly wasting your money and should expect a quick denial. The only exception is if the alien is independently wealthy. Now, if you happened to already have a B1/B2 visa which was granted for another trip but remains unexpired, you may be able to travel on it for this purpose. Just be ready to be questioned at the port of entry and realize even if you have a visa, you may be denied entry at the port of entry. Many people have learned the hard way that there really is just no way around the legal channels.