The B-2 (visitor for pleasure) visa is as flexible as a world-class gymnast. The State Department has announced that a B-2 visa may be used by parents to accompany a minor with an F-1 (student) visa to the U.S. As background, its well known that an F-1 student’s spouse and children (under age 21) can get… Continue reading Visas for Parents to Accompany F-1 Student to the U.S.
Category: B1/B2 Visa (Visitor for Business or Pleasure)
Nonimmigrant visas are issued to allow a noncitizen to come to the U.S. temporarily for a specific purpose, such as tourism, study, or work. This is in contrast with immigrant visas (green cards), which allow a person to come to the U.S. permanently, and are most often issued based on family sponsorship or an offer of employment.
Nonimmigrant Visa Classifications
For an overview of the key nonimmigrant visa classifications, see Quick Reference to Nonimmigrant Visas. Below is a list of all the classifications.
|A1||Head of State and immediate family, Prime Minister and immediate family, Government Minister, Ambassador, Career Diplomat or Consular Officer, or Immediate Family|
|A2||Minister of State, other Foreign Government Official or Employee, or Immediate Family|
|A3||Attendant, Servant, or Personal Employee of A1 or A2, or Immediate Family|
|B1||Temporary Visitor for business, domestic employees, academics, researchers and students|
|B2||Temporary Visitor for holiday, tourism, medical treatment|
|B1/B2||Temporary Visitor for Business & Pleasure|
|C1||Alien in Transit|
|C1/D||Combined Transit and Crewmember Visa|
|C2||Alien in Transit to United Nations Headquarters District Under Sec. 11.(3), (4), or (5) of the Headquarters Agreement|
|C3||Foreign Government Official, Immediate Family, Attendant, Servant or Personal Employee, in Transit|
|D||Crewmember (Sea or Air)|
|E1||Treaty Trader, Spouse or Child|
|E2||Treaty Investor, Spouse or Child|
|E3||Australian Treaty Alien Coming to the United States Solely to Perform Services in a Specialty Occupation|
|E3D||Spouse or Child of E3|
|F1||Student in an academic or language training program|
|F2||Spouse or Child of F1|
|F3||Canadian or Mexican national commuter student in an academic or language training program|
|G1||Principal Resident Representative of Recognized Foreign Government to International Organization, Staff, or Immediate Family|
|G2||Other Representative of Recognized Foreign Member Government to International Organization, or Immediate Family|
|G3||Representative of Nonrecognized or Nonmember Foreign Government to International Organization, or Immediate Family|
|G4||International Organization Officer or Employee, or Immediate Family|
|G5||Attendant, Servant, or Personal Employee of G1 through G4, or Immediate Family|
|H1B||Alien in a Specialty Occupation (Profession)|
|H1B1||Chilean or Singaporean National to Work in a Specialty Occupation|
|H1C||Nurse in Health Professional Shortage Area|
|H2A||Temporary Worker Performing Agricultural Services Unavailable in the United States|
|H2B||Temporary Worker Performing Other Services Unavailable in the United States|
|H4||Spouse or Child of Alien Classified H1B/B1/C, H2A/B/R, or H–3|
|I||Representative of Foreign Information Media, Spouse and Child|
|J1||Exchange Visitor. Anyone wishing to take up prearranged employment, training or research in the United States under an officially approved program sponsored by an educational or other nonprofit institution requires an exchange visitor (J-1) visa. Persons covered by these programs include post graduate students, foreign medical graduates seeking to pursue graduate medical education or training, foreign scholars sponsored by universities as temporary faculty, and some business trainees. In addition, there are several exchange visitor programs for young people, including the summer work and travel program, intern programs for university students, and au pair programs).|
|J2||Spouse or Child of J1|
|K1||Fiance(e) of United States Citizen|
|K2||Child of Fiance(e) of U.S. Citizen|
|K3||Spouse of U.S. Citizen Awaiting Availability of Immigrant Visa|
|K4||Child of K3|
|L1||Intracompany Transferee (Executive, Managerial, and Specialized Knowledge Personnel Continuing Employment with International Firm or Corporation)|
|L2||Spouse or Child of Intracompany Transferee|
|M1||Vocational Student or Other Nonacademic Student|
|M2||Spouse or Child of M1|
|M3||Canadian or Mexican National Commuter Student (Vocational Student or Other Nonacademic Student)|
|N8||Parent of an Alien Classified SK3 or SN3|
|N9||Child of N8 or of SK1, SK2, SK4, SN1, SN2 or SN4|
|O1||Alien with Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics|
|02||Alien Accompanying and Assisting in the Artistic or Athletic Performance by O1|
|O3||Spouse or Child of O1 or O2|
|P1||Internationally Recognized Athlete or Member of Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group|
|P2||Artist or Entertainer in a Reciprocal Exchange Program|
|P3||Artist or Entertainer in a Culturally Unique Program|
|P4||Spouse or Child of P1, P2, or P3|
|Q1||Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program|
|Q2||Irish Peace Process Program Participant|
|Q3||Spouse or Child of Q2|
|R1||Alien in a Religious Occupation|
|R2||Spouse or Child of R1|
|S5||Certain Aliens Supplying Critical Information Relating to a Criminal Organization or Enterprise|
|S6||Certain Aliens Supplying Critical Information Relating to Terrorism|
|S7||Qualified Family Member of S5 or S6|
|T1||Victim of a Severe Form of Trafficking in Persons|
|T2||Spouse of T1|
|T3||Child of T1|
|T4||Parent of T1 Under 21 Years of Age|
|T5||Unmarried Sibling Under Age 18 of T1 Under 21 Years of Age|
|TD||Spouse or Child of NAFTA Professional|
|U1||Victim of Criminal Activity|
|U2||Spouse of U1|
|U3||Child of U1|
|U4||Parent of U1 Under 21 Years of Age|
|U5||Unmarried Sibling Under Age 18 of U1 Under 21 Years of Age|
|V1||Spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident Alien Awaiting Availability of Immigrant Visa|
|V2||Child of a Lawful Permanent Resident Alien Awaiting Availability of Immigrant Visa|
|V3||Child of a V1 or V2|
Coming to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant typically involves the following steps:
- in the case of an employment-based nonimmigrant visa, a petition may be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a U.S. employer;
- the noncitizen applies for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad;
- the noncitizen applies at a U.S. airport or other port of entry to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer for admission to the U.S. and is issued a Form I-94, Departure Record, showing the nonimmigrant classification and date that the authorized stay in the U.S. expires.
Listed below are posts related to nonimmigrant visas.
U.S., China Agree on Longer Visa Validity
The U.S. and China have mutually agreed to increase business and tourist visa validity to 10 years and student and exchange visa validity to 5 years. That according to President Obama’s announcement (video) on November 10 at the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing. Both governments put the policy into effect immediately. But China hasn’t even fully implemented its prior… Continue reading U.S., China Agree on Longer Visa Validity
Webinar: The B-1 Business Visa—How to “B” Resourceful (Oct. 23)
This 90-minute web seminar will be recorded live on October 23, 2014, from 2:00 pm-3:30 pm eastern time. The B-1 visa for business visitors provides short term business travelers with a unique opportunity. The B-1 option has its benefits, as well as its limitations. Exploring all the different ways that the B-1 can help a… Continue reading Webinar: The B-1 Business Visa—How to “B” Resourceful (Oct. 23)
Impossible Dream? U.S.-China Negotiations on Longer Visa Validity
Negotiations between the U.S. and Chinese governments to extend the validity of U.S. and China visitor and business visas are still underway, according to China Daily:
Chinese Turning to American Surrogate Mothers
Chinese couples who are unable to have children are turning to a surprising place for help these days: America. By hiring American surrogates, Chinese couples get around a ban on surrogacy in China. Also, by having a child born abroad, parents skirt the one-child policy and get a U.S. passport for their child. These same… Continue reading Chinese Turning to American Surrogate Mothers
Snowden Incident May Sink Hong Kong Participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program
A Senate bill would allow Hong Kong to be considered for the U.S. visa waiver program, facilitating entry for residents of this special administrative region of China. But Congress may not be willing to pass the bill in light of Hong Kong’s 2013 decision to let NSA leaker Edward Snowden depart for Moscow despite a pending… Continue reading Snowden Incident May Sink Hong Kong Participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program
Birth Tourism: $50,000 for a U.S. Birth Certificate?
The governor of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), Eloy Inos, and the territory’s delegate to the U.S. Congress, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, say they are working to try to stop birth tourism.
Update for Chinese: Visa-Free Travel to CNMI, but Still Not Guam
Update: Aug. 3, 2012 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it’s still not ready to allow Chinese to participate in Guam’s visas waiver program (VWP).
B-1 Visitor for Business Visas: Permissible “Business” versus “Labor”
Here’s an audio slideshow with advice for company HR and legal departments (as well as visa applicants) about when labor-like activities are permissible “business activities” for a U.S. B-1 visa, versus when such activities are “labor” requiring a work visa. (26 minutes). If you’re behind the Great Firewall, see the presentation here.
Presentation: Update on U.S. Visa Issues in China
AmCham China hosts a briefing, “Update on U.S. Visa Issues in China,” with immigration attorney Gary Chodorow and Scott Oudkirk, Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. It will take place Friday, June 15.
Chongqing Girl with Cancer Battles Visa Issues to Get U.S. Medical Treatment
Anni Wan, a 16-year-old from Chongqing diagnosed with cancer in her chin, was given three months to live. That’s when an American friend helped her seek out doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and get a B1/B2 (visitor) visa for medical treatment from the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu.
Guerrilla Diplomacy: The U.S. Government Sparks a Fury on Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter) about Visa Reciprocity
The U.S. Consular Mission is frustrated by its failure to convince China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reciprocally increase visa validity for visas for business visitors and tourists. Now, it appears that the U.S. is engaging in guerrilla diplomacy: encouraging Chinese netizens to speak out on the issue.
New U.S. Visa Interview Waiver Pilot Program in China: a Political Minefield?
Yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke announced the establishment of a new U.S. visa interview pilot program in China. This is good news, but the Administration may be entering a political minefield.
State Department Press Conference on Meeting the Growing Demand for U.S. Visas in China
The U.S. consular mission in China adjudicated more than one million visas during fiscal year 2011, with an approval rate of “nearly 90 percent,” said Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs Chuck Bennett at a November 8 press conference. That represents a 35% increase in visa issuances over last year.
Increased Government Scrutiny of B1 (Visitor for Business) Visas: What Companies Should Do
The New York Times just ran an article summarizing recent government scrutiny of B1 visas. See Julia Preston and Vikas Bajaj, Indian Company Under Scrutiny over U.S. Visas (New York Times, June 21, 2011).
U.S. Retailers Upset About Long Visa Waits for Chinese Travelers
June 9th’s Wall Street Journal reports that visitors from China are big spenders in the U.S. (averaging over $6000 per person) but visa red tape means they often opt for Europe. “U.S. retailers are feeling left out, thanks to a clunky visa process that can force would-be tourists to wait months for permission to travel.… Continue reading U.S. Retailers Upset About Long Visa Waits for Chinese Travelers
U.S. Visitor Visa Approval Rates for Chinese Still Climbing
The U.S. Department of State has announced that the Fiscal Year 2010 adjusted refusal rate for B (visitor) visas for Chinese nationals is 13.3%. That’s a continuing, significant improvement over prior years: 2010: 13.3% 2009: 15.6% 2008: 18.2% 2007: 20.7% 2006: 24.5% In comparison, here are the 2010 refusal rates for some other countries: Brazil:… Continue reading U.S. Visitor Visa Approval Rates for Chinese Still Climbing
U.S. Visa Invitation Letters for Sale—$16,000 a Piece
Â The U.S. State Department has announced it is searching for Philip Ming Wong, a fugitive who has been indicted for his role in a visa fraud scheme. “Operation Shell Games” Targeted Brokers Who Supplied Chinese Citizens with False Documents and Fraudulent Visa ApplicationsÂ United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)… Continue reading U.S. Visa Invitation Letters for Sale—$16,000 a Piece
Tourism Agreement Should Be Applauded, But Does It Create an Unfair Monopoly?
On Dec. 11, 2007, the U.S. and China signed a memorandum of understanding on group leisure travel from China to the United States. This MOU should be applauded because it lifts prior Chinese rules restricting the travel industry. Still, a question remains whether travel agencies designated by the China National Tourism Agency (CNTA) will receive… Continue reading Tourism Agreement Should Be Applauded, But Does It Create an Unfair Monopoly?