The B1 and B2 visas to the US, also called “visitor visas,” allow travelers to enter the US for business and tourism, respectively. Validity and stay length with these visas can vary, as well as the number of entries to the US permitted. It’s important to understand all these details thoroughly, and we can help. Read on to learn:
The validity, stay length, and the number of entries for the B1/B2 visa vary country-by-country, and also case-by-case. Generally, B1 and B2 visas fall within the following parameters:
Validity means how long the visa remains “active”; in other words, the period of time during which the traveler may enter the United States.
Stay length is the total amount of time the traveler may spend in the US after entry.
The number of entries means how many times the traveler may enter/exit the US on the same visa.
Typically, B1 and B2 have similar parameters when it comes to staying length and validity. These two elements generally depend more on the nationality of the traveler and on the decision of American travel authorities than on whether the visa is B1 or B2.
Yes, it is possible to get an extension on a B1/B2 visa. B1/B2 visas may typically be extended up to 6 months. Applications for extension may be made from within the US, and should be made in advance of the expiration of your stay. It is also important that travelers applying for an extension have not violated the terms of admission.
Another important fact to remember is that extensions cannot be made indefinitely. Typically, only 1 extension will be granted for a B1/B2 visa.
All decisions regarding the validity, stay length, and the number of entries are made by the travel authorities of the United States based on the circumstances of the traveler’s application. Elements considered include the nationality of the applicant, as well as the applicant’s purpose of travel within the United States.
Many business travelers and tourists actually do not need a B1/B2 visa in order to enter the United States. Instead, travelers from eligible countries are encouraged to apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, also known as ESTA.
You are likely eligible for ESTA if you:
Countries whose citizens are eligible for ESTA:
|Greece||New Zealand||United Kingdom|
Using ESTA instead of B1/B2 can make travel much easier for travelers whose journeys fall within the parameters listed above.
The main difference between B1/B2 and ESTA is the application process. Whereas applying for B1/B2 involves traveling to the Embassy for interviews and the submission of paperwork, ESTA can be applied for and obtained over the internet in a much shorter time frame. Fees for ESTA are also significantly lower than for B1/B2.
|The validity of 2 years||Used for business or tourism||Validity between 1 month and 10 years|
|Stay length of up to 90 consecutive days||Cannot be used for longer-term purposes such as education or employment||Stay length varies, with a maximum of 6 months|
|Allows multiple entries||The recipient must leave the US when their visit is complete||May allow single, double, triple, or multiple entries|
|Digital document (your visa is electronically linked to your passport)||Physical document (your visa is marked on your passport)|
While it’s true that B1/B2 can offer greater flexibility in terms of validity and stay length, those parameters vary by country and by the applicant, and ESTA already fits the needs of many business and tourism travelers.
You’ll enjoy a more streamlined experience. Don’t worry about having to travel to the Embassy – you can apply with Evisa Express from anywhere with an internet connection. Even if you are not eligible for ESTA, we hope that this article has been helpful. Evisa Express: You take care of your trip; we take care of your visa.