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Temporary Visas > B Visa


Short-term Visitor Visas (Business or Pleasure)

The B visa category applies to individuals seeking to enter the US for short-term duration (less than six months) for business or pleasure. The B1 visa allows the foreign physician/scientist to enter the US to attend meetings, conferences, fellowship/ residency interviews, and other occasions where the physician/scientist will not be engaging in employment in the US The B2 visa applies to all tourist related travel to the US not involving professional activities, including visiting friends and relatives.

Please note that nationals of certain countries participating in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (the VWPP) do not need to obtain visas prior to entering the US for temporary business or pleasure trips for up to 90 days.

Frequently Asked Questions about B1/B2 Visas


1. How do I apply for a B1/B2 visa?

You can apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa at a US Consulate or Embassy in your home country. You must present evidence of the nature and purpose of the temporary visit to the US, and evidence that you fully intend to return to your home country at the conclusion of your visit. The duration of the visa and the number of entries allowed is based on reciprocity. Thus, these variables are based on what the person's home country authorizes for US citizens applying for that country's visas. It is important that your initial application for B1/B2 visa be carefully drafted to avoid your visa application from being refused, since a refusal on your record could make it much more difficult for you on any future B1/B2 visa application.

The processing time for the B visa at the US Embassy or Consulate abroad varies from one to two hours to one week or more. Please check with the appropriate Embassy/Consulate for the latest information.

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2. What is the validity period for a B1/B2 visa?

Upon entry, US Immigration officials have discretion with respect to your allowable period of stay. Your B visa could be valid for any duration between from two weeks to six months. It is a rare for the visa to be granted for more than six months. Upon entry to the US, it is advisable to request that the immigration officer issue your visa for your anticipated length of stay.

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3. Can I extend my B1/B2 visa once I am in the US should I desire to stay longer than the allowable period?

Yes. You may apply for a visa extension while you are in the US for periods of up to six additional months. The INS has discretion to approve or deny such requests, however.

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4. Can I change my B1/B2 status to a working visa while I am in the US, such as H-1B or J1?

Yes. Should you find employment in the US in a professional capacity or as a medical resident/scholar, you may be able to change your visa status from B to a working status, such as H or J, while you are in the US, alleviating the need for you to return to your home country. As always, though, the INS has discretion to approve or deny such requests.

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5. What steps can I take if my B1/B2 visa application is refused by the US Embassy/Consulate?

Since you do not have rights of appeal, you would need to re-apply for the visa with the additional documentation and/or explanation requested by the consular officials at the US Embassy/Consulate. On occasion, the intervention of a US Senator may be helpful in understanding the reasons for visa refusal to give you a better chance of success in a re-application.

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6. What is the most common mistake in applying for the B1/B2 visa?

Incomplete or improper document submission to the US Embassy/Consulate in support of your application.

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7. How can MDgreencard.com help me with this application process?

We have developed special strategies for providing the physician/scientist with the greatest chance of approval on your B1/B2 visa application.

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