Difference between B1 and B2 visa

B1/B2 visas to USA explained, what are the differences between them, how to apply. Moreover, for everyone who wants to omit the complicated process of B1/B2 visa handling, ESTA is also explained.

Difference between B1 and B2 visa

Business and tourism travellers to the US have traditionally had two visa categories for their visa: B1 and B2. Today, there?s also a third option for many travellers, called ESTA.

But what are the features of a B1 or B2 visa? What is the difference between a B1/B2 visa? And how are they both different from ESTA?

This article will help you to learn all about B1 and B2 visa. Moreover, if you wish to travel to the US for business/tourism purposes and avoid the complicated application process of both B visas, keep on reading to find out how to apply for ESTA for the US and how you can use it.

What are B1 and B2 visas?

B1/B2 visas are regular (non-immigrant) visas that each traveller has to handle at a US Embassy or Consulate. The process may seem long and complicated.

To apply for B1/B2, the applicant must undergo the full, traditional visa application process, including an in-person interview and document submission at a US Embassy or Consulate.

Sometimes, a non-refundable fee must be paid prior to your visa interview, which depends on your nationality.

Please note! The interview is generally not required, provided the applicants are either under the age of 13 or are above 80 years.

B1/B2 visa can be single-entry, multiple-entry, unlimited-entry depending on applicants' nationality. The validity period also differs according to what is the travellers' home country.

Difference between B1 and B2 visa

B1: Business visa

B1 Business visa can be used for business-related purposes. However, it does not serve as a work permit. All travellers can use the business visitor visa for the following purposes:

  • consult business affairs with your business associates
  • attend a conference, meeting, or convention (business, science, education-related)
  • to settle an estate
  • to negotiate a contract

As you can see, the business visitor visa serves for all business activities purposes handled during a stay in the United States.

B2: Tourist visa

Using a tourist visitor visa, its' holders can travel to the United States for the following reasons:

  • visiting tourist destinations, tourism-related in general
  • going on a holiday
  • visiting friends/family in the United States
  • undergoing a medical treatment
  • taking part in social events (fraternal, social, service organizations events)
  • taking part in music, sport, or similar events or contests (if you are not being paid to participate)
  • attending a recreational course or study (e.g., a two-day cooking course while on vacation)

How to apply for a B1/B2 visa?

The visa application process for both B visitor visas that enable its' holders to stay in the United States is quite complicated. Please note that the application process may differ between various Embassies or Consulates.

Contact the Embassy/Consulate you plan on applying in and ask what the complete application process is.

Usually, the process comprises the following steps:

  1. Filling in an application form and printing it out.
  2. Uploading a photo that meets the specified photo requirements
  3. Schedule an interview
  4. Prepare for the interview, gather the required documents
  5. Attend your interview

If the consular officer decided no further processing is required, you could book your flight once you obtain either a B1 visa or the b2 visa. You may be asked to prepare additional documents concerning the purpose of your trip or for different reasons.

You can enter the United States through a port of entry (usually an airport) in the US.

Commonly asked questions about B1 or B2 visa

Do I need a letter of invitation to get one of the B visas?
A letter of invitation is not necessary and cannot guarantee visa approval even if provided.

How long can I stay in the US on a B1 or a B2 visa?
Visa validity times and stay lengths vary depending on your country of origin.

Difference between B visas and ESTA

The most significant difference between ESTA and B visas is the application process. Applying for a regular visitor visa with necessary visits to the Embassy and a more extended waiting period is more costly and time-consuming than applying for ESTA.

  • ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an electronic visa to US permit that can be handled entirely from home. Completing the application process takes just a few minutes and can be done on any device with an internet connection.
  • ESTA costs just 49 Euro, and is valid for 2 years, allows unlimited number of visits to the US during the validity period. Each stay can be as long as 90 days at a time!
  • The processing time may take up to 72 hours (3 business days), but the average processing time when applying using our services is just 24 hours!

ESTA arrives at your e-mail address; there is no need to visit the Embassy. It can be used for tourism, transit, and business purposes. It serves the same purpose as a B visa.

Visa Waiver Program

Countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program can enter the US without a visa handled at an Embassy. If you are a citizen of any country listed as eligible, you need to apply online for an electronic visa permit.

Remember that your passport has to be valid for at least six months after the planned entry to the US date. Whether you choose to go for a business trip or travel for tourism-related reasons, this visa type is perfect for you.

Citizens from the following countries can apply for a visa to the US in an electronic form:

BelgiumItalySan Marino
Czech RepublicLiechtensteinSlovenia
DenmarkLithuaniaSouth Korea
GreeceNew Zealand United Kingdom

Online application guide for ESTA

This three-step intuitive and quick application process will take you only a couple of minutes to complete. Prepare your valid passport and follow these steps to apply online:

  1. Fill an online application form with your data, passport details, provide an e-mail address, the purpose of your travel. Ensure all the data is correct to avoid delays.
  2. Make an online payment by choosing any of the several methods of online payment available on our website.
  3. Check your inbox. ESTA usually arrives within 24 hours to all applicants at their inbox. However, it can take up to 72 hours.

It's as simple as that! The application fee is only 49 Euro. Make sure to have passport validity for at least 6 months from the planned departure date.

Why is ESTA more convenient than a B1/B2 visa?

B1 and B2 visas serve as a non-immigrant visa to the United States. Why trouble yourself with an excessive amount of paperwork, long queues, visits at the embassy, and stressful in-person interviews with consular officers?

Compare the above-presented application processes, ESTA has only a 3-step process that can be completed within minutes from home! You can use your phone, laptop, PC, or tablet to apply online. B1 visa application and B2 visa application are far more complicated than that.

With ESTA, the period of stay does not differ depending on your nationality. Everyone gets a multiple-entry visa, valid for 2 years, with each visit as long as 90 days!

Apply using Evisa Express to have:

  • 24/7 support team available
  • assistance through every step of applying
  • a stress-free travelling experience
  • a 98% rate of successfully approved applications
  • a 24-hour average processing time
  • our team thoroughly checking if each application is error-free before sending it to the US government
  • reimbursement in case your application would fail to be approved

Contact our support team to get further information about ESTA to the USA.

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