B-1/B-2 Visa (Visitor Visa)


First, it should be noted that there is a difference between a B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visa. 

B-1 – The B-1 visa is a business visitor visa.  Common activities for B-1 visa purposes are to attend a conference related to business, education, or science.  Other common purposes are to negotiate contracts, settle an estate, or consult with business associates.

B-2 – The B-2 visa is a tourism/visitor visa.  This visa is meant for entering the use for vacation (holiday), general tourism, visiting friends or family, seeking medical treatment, and participating by amateurs in music or sporting events or contest where payment is not meant to be given for participation.

B-1/B-2 – This visa is a combination of the B-1 and B-2 visas, where the individual is seeking to enter for a proper business purpose but also wishes to stay in the US for tourism or other B-2 activities.

How To Qualify

In order to obtain a B visa, the individual needs to submit a DS-160 to obtain the visa, or if in the US and eligible to change status, they may be able to change their status without leaving the US. 

USCIS provides the following bullet points in regards to how to qualify for a B visa:

- The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature
- You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time
- You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States
- You have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which   will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit
- You are otherwise admissible to the United States
- Proof of the purpose of the trip is often required to support the statements for the intention of the trip. 

Each consulate/embassy that handles B visas has resources regarding their application process.  You can find your consulate/embassy for more details  here.

Employment And Studying In B Status

Outside of the limited scope allowable activities of the B-1 visa, employment in B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 status is not authorized. 
Enrollment in school is also prohibited prior to obtaining a proper status for studying, such as F-1.  For information on enrolling in school from a B visa status, please see more information here.

Can a B Visa Holder Apply For Permanent Residence?

While there is no prohibition against applying for adjustment of status from a B visa, it is often filled with risks.  Since the B visa status is typically only valid for six months upon entering the US, the burden of showing that an individual had non-immigrant intent that changed while they were in the US is difficult.  Individuals seeking permanent residence from B visa status are strongly encouraged to speak with an experienced immigration attorney prior to proceeding.