What to Expect when Applying for a U.S. Tourist Visa

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If you wish to visit the US, you will need to apply for a tourist visa, such as a B-2 visa or a B-1 visa. You will generally apply for a B-2 visa if you are traveling for business and a B-1 visa if you are traveling for medical or tourist reasons.

The most common visa used by visitors is the B1/B2 (Visitor for Business or Pleasure) visa, which is a tourist visa. The requirements for this tourist visa are simple and there is no cap on the number of such visas issued every year. If you hope to come to the US and you qualify for a B1/B2 (Visitor for Business or Pleasure) visa, you can generally secure one.

You may qualify for a B1/B2 (Visitor for Business or Pleasure) visa if:

  1. You plan on traveling to the US for a short period of time for medical reasons, tourism reasons, or to visit friends and family.
  2. You have a permanent residence in your home country and plan to return.
  3. Your visit to the US is to be for a specific, limited period.
  4. You plan on traveling to the US for a short period of time for general business reasons (such as meetings or seminars) but will not be taking part in training, education, or work while the US.

A B1/B2 visa is stamped into your passport and allows you to ask a Customs and Border Protection immigration officer or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for entry into the US at an airport, border crossing, or other U.S. port-of-entry. It is important to keep in mind that your B1/B2 visa does not guarantee you entry into the US. You will want to have a back-up plan for returning home in case you are not admitted into the US with your B-2 visa or B-1 visa.

If you qualify for a B-2 visa or B-1 visa, it is best to apply well in advance of your travel plans to ensure that you can get your visa in time. To apply, you will need to file Form DS-160 and you will need to schedule a US visa appointment and pay your application fee. Once you get your visa, it will be stamped into your passport. If, upon arriving at the US border, you are permitted into the US, you will also be issued an Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 white or I-94W green) in your passport. This document will outline the date by which you must leave. It is important that you leave the US by this date. When arriving at the US to request entry with your B1/B2 visa, it is also a good idea to bring in documentation of your life at home (to show that you have a permanent residence you want to return to) and any documentation of what you will be doing in the US (travel itinerary or tickets for tourism events you will be seeing). This can help establish your intention to enter the US temporarily and return to your home country.

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