How to Apply for B-2

By Eric Som
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The B-2 visa is a U.S. visitor visa that allows a foreign national to enter the United States for pleasure, medical treatment or tourism. If you are a foreign national and your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you do not need a B-2 visa to enter the United States for stays of 90 days or less. However, if you are from a country that does not participate in this program, you must apply for and obtain your B-2 visa at your local U.S. Embassy or consular office.

Get one 2-inch by 2-inch photograph of yourself. Scan and save a copy of the photograph on your computer, making sure the scanned image meets the conditions stated on the "Digital Image Requirements" page on the U.S. State Department site travel.state.gov.

Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Forms DS-160 or DS-156 available from the U.S. Department of State, depending on the specific form that your local U.S. Embassy uses. To determine the specific form that your local U.S. Embassy uses, visit the "How to Apply for a U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa" page of the State Department's Consular Electronic Application Center website, select your region and language from the drop down menus and then click "Start Application" at the bottom of the page.

Select "Start a New Application" and then complete the application by following the prompts.

Pay the visa-processing fee for your B-2 visa. For instructions on how to pay the fee, locate the homepage of your local U.S. Embassy or consular office by visiting the "Websites for U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions" page on the U.S. Department of State website (usembassy.gov) and then selecting your country.

Schedule your B-2 visa appointment online or by telephone, as instructed on the website of your local U.S. Embassy or consular office. Generally, visa applicants must schedule a visa appointment with their local U.S. Embassy or consular office before they can visit the embassy in person.

Gather supporting documents for your B-2 visa application. This includes documents supporting the purpose of your trip, bank statements showing sufficient financial resources to cover the entire trip and proof that you have strong ties to your home country.

Examples of documents that indicate strong ties to your home country include, but are not limited to, an employment verification letter, a land title and mortgage documents.

Visit your local U.S. Embassy on your appointment date and provide your supporting documents, which must include a passport with a minimum validity of six months. Answer every question that the immigration officer asks you as carefully as possible.

If the immigration officer believes that you have met the requirements for the B-2 visa, your application will be approved. If your application is approved, expect your local U.S. Embassy to process your visa within five business days, if not sooner.

About the Author

Eric Som has been writing professionally since 2002, contributing to various websites. He is certified through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Som holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Laws from Handong Global University. He also has a Juris Doctor degree from an Ohio law school.