B2 Visa – USA tourist visa
In addition to traveling to the U.S. to work or study, you also have the option of traveling to the U.S. on a U.S. “visitor” visa. The “visitor” visa allows you to travel to the United States for tourism, business or medical reasons. You will be able to visit the most famous tourist sites in the United States and meet Americans who may become future business contacts back in your home country.
For a tourist stay of less than 90 days: you don’t need to apply for a B2 visa. You can simply apply for ESTA via the Internet. The ESTA is an Electronic Travel Authorization issued by the United States. To obtain your certificate in a few minutes click on the online form.
If you are a citizen of a country that does not benefit from the visa waiver for the USA you cannot travel to the USA with an ESTA. You must apply for a B2 visa by clicking on this link.
The B2 visa is a U.S. visitor’s visa that allows you to enter the United States for tourism, leisure, or to visit friends and family. U.S. tourist visa holders may participate in the following activities:
- Participate in charity events;
- Getting medical treatment;
- Spend a vacation, visit different cities in the United States;
- Visiting friends and family;
- Participate in a sporting or musical event without receiving payment;
- Enroll in learning courses as a hobby.
If you do not find your travel plans in this list, you are not eligible for a B2 Visa. You will then need to look at other types of non-immigrant U.S. visas to see which ones are available to you.
For example, unlike the B2 tourist visa, the B1 visa allows you to enter the United States for the purpose of negotiating a contract or attending conferences or other business-related events. If you want to develop or buy a business in the United States, you’ll need an E2 visa.
Photo B2 visa
Do I need to apply for a tourist visa for the USA?
Only those who do not participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program need to apply for a U.S. tourist visa. If you come from a country that does not require you to apply for a visa for the United States, you are in luck, you will simply have to follow the procedure to obtain your ESTA and then organize your trip. Canada has implemented the same Canada Tourist Visa Waiver system.
Eligibility criteria for the B2 visa
To be allowed to travel to the United States on a tourist visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Your reason for travel and your intentions there are consistent with the purposes of the visit authorized by the B2 visa;
- You have sufficient financial means to cover your stay in the United States economically;
- You intend to return to your home country as soon as your visa expires and you will not remain in the United States.
USA Tourist Visa Application
To apply for a tourist visa for the United States, you must follow these steps:
- Submit Form DS-160;
- Paying the visa fee;
- Schedule your interview for a B2 visa;
- Prepare your supporting documents;
- Attend the visa interview.
Submit Form DS-160
You can easily complete the DS-160 form online without assistance. Fill in your personal information and details about the purpose of your visit. You must complete the tourist visa application form and submit it online. After submitting your application, you will be taken to a verification page and assigned a personal code for your credential file.
Payment of B2 visa fees
The tourist visa fee has been $185 since June 2023. In order to validate your visa application, you must pay this fee when you submit your application online. Depending on the international relationship between your home country and the United States, you may also need to pay additional fees to complete the B2 Visa process. These possible additional fees are called visa “issuance fees” and vary from country to country. When you pay all the fees requested, be sure to keep the receipts and add them to your B2 visa credentials file.
Schedule your interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
All U.S. tourist visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must be interviewed at the U.S. Embassy to which they are applying. To obtain this interview, you must schedule it with the U.S. Embassy in your country. Due to the high workload of embassies, schedule maintenance as soon as possible. When your interview request is approved, you will receive an interview confirmation letter that you will need to bring to the interview.
Prepare your B2 Visa credentials file
The B2 visa credentials package that you must prepare includes all supporting documents that demonstrate to the U.S. Embassy that the B2 Visa is safe to give. You must bring all documents to your interview at your U.S. Embassy.
Here are the documents required for a B2 tourist visa application:
- A valid passport;
- A photo that meets the requirements for an American visa;
- Confirmation of submission of Form DS-160 and the code ;
- Proof of payment of the visa fee;
- The scheduled maintenance confirmation page;
- A detailed letter describing the reason for your trip;
- Proof of financial means to travel: Bank statements showing that you have the financial means to stay in the U.S. with a minimum of $266 per day of intended stay;
- Your ties to your home country: An employment contract, lease or property deed that proves you will return to your home country at the end of your stay;
- An optional U.S. visitor visa invitation letter from friends or family members in the United States;
- A criminal record or a letter from the authorities indicating that you have no previous convictions.
Specifically, in each of the following cases, you must attach certain additional documents:
- For those who have already been to the USA: Documents related to the contents of previous visits;
- For students: Transcripts or diplomas;
- For workers: A letter from your employer and pay slips for the last three months;
- For those visiting family: Photocopies of your relative’s status in the United States.
- For those coming for medical treatment: Letters from doctors about your diagnosis and treatment.
Attend the interview at the embassy
On your scheduled interview date, you will go to your U.S. Embassy to meet with a U.S. official. They will ask you questions about your background and why you want to come to the United States. The embassy staff will review your documents to ensure that everything is in order. Interviews don’t last long, but make sure you pass on all the necessary information to avoid problems later.
USA tourist visa additional questions
For several years now, the visa process also requires you to detail your presence on social networks by providing a list of your profiles and your username. Since the start of the COVID 19 health crisis, questions about your recent state of health and vaccinations have also been added.
Time required to obtain a B2 visa
The processing time for the B2 visa can take from a few weeks to a few months. The processing time for obtaining a B2 tourism USA visa varies from one country to another. The time frame depends greatly on the workload of your U.S. embassy. If you do not hear from the embassy, be patient and wait for them to contact you to inform you whether or not you will receive your B2 visa.
Duration of validity of the B2 visa
The maximum stay with a B2 visa is 6 months. During this time, you can travel to the United States or elsewhere. However, as soon as your tourist visa expires, you must return to your country of origin.
B2 visa extension
If you wish to stay longer, you can obtain a B2 visa extension for an additional 6 months.
You must apply for a B2 visa extension at least 42 days before your I-94 card expires. But be careful, you are not allowed to apply within the first three months of your arrival in the United States.
Here are the documents to be provided to request a B2 visa extension:
- Completed Form I-539;
- Have a valid passport;
- A detailed written explanation of the reason for the requested extension;
- Proof of financial resources for the new stay;
- Payment of the B2 visa extension fee in the amount of $370;
- The original or photocopy of the I-94 card.
The processing time for the B2 Tourist Visa extension varies depending on the number of applications processed by USCIS at the time of your application.
Can I get a Green card with a US B2 visa?
It is very difficult to obtain a Green Card for permanent residence on a US tourist visa. Indeed, the B2 visa is a temporary American tourist visa.
To obtain the U.S. tourist visa, you must prove that you will return to your home country after it expires. The B2 visa does not allow you to look for a job or to start studying. Therefore, you cannot stay in the United States longer than the time initially specified in your B2 Visa application.
Can my parents visit me in the US on a B2 visa?
If you live, work or study in the United States, you can invite your parents to visit you. They can enter the United States with a B2 visa. They will have to follow all the processes explained above. The only thing that will be slightly different is the list of required documents for parents.
You are responsible for collecting certain documents for your parents. They will also need to raise additional funds in their home countries.
The B2 visa documents required for parents are as follows:
- Passports: Your parents must have valid passports;
- Complete Form DS-160;
- Provide a bank verification letter: You must show proof that you are able to financially support your parents while they are in the United States;
- Employment Verification: You will need to request this letter from your current employer;
- Provide the invitation letter: You will need to write a letter to your parents inviting them to visit you in the United States.
The type of visa according to your destination in the USA
To learn more about the different destinations in the USA, please visit our pages on the different destinations in the USA. We provide in-depth information on New York visa and Washington visa for trips to the US Northeast coast. We’ll give you all the information you need to obtain a Boston visa, and finally a Chicago visa if your travel destination is Lake Michigan.
For a trip to the south of the American West Coast, we inform you about the visa for San Francisco or to travel further north the Los Angeles visa. If you’re planning to visit Nevada, check out our visa for Las Vegas. More generally, we’ve also prepared an article on the California visa to cover the entire American coast, right up to the San Diego visa.
The other very touristy destination in the United States is the southern part of the East Coast. You may be interested in a Miami visa or an Orlando visa. More generally, we explain how to obtain a visa for Florida.
Applying for a USA tourist visa from the UK
Britishs residents wishing to travel to the United States must apply for a tourist visa from the UK. The procedure is carried out in your mother tongue, and the appointment is obtained from the embassy in your country of residence.