American visas B
Whether you are traveling to the United States for business or pleasure, an electronic travel authorization or a U.S. visa is required. B visas allow you to stay in the United States for 6 months for a temporary stay with a specific purpose. The B2 visa allows a 6-month tourist trip to the USA. A B1 visa is required to visit the USA for professional reasons.
If you are a citizen of an African or a South American country, you must apply for a visa to travel to the United States by clicking on the online visa form.
If you are a citizen of a VWP member country (Most european countries, Canada, ect..): You do not need to apply for a B1 or B2 visa. You can simply apply for an ESTA via the Internet. The ESTA is an Electronic Travel Authorization issued by the United States and valid for stays of less than 90 days. To obtain your certificate in a few minutes click on the online form.
What is the purpose of the B1 and B2 visas?
If you plan to stay in the U.S. for more than 6 months, you’ll need to consider applying for a visa. There are a multitude of visas to suit different travel purposes and situations: J1 visas, F1 visas, O and P visas, L1 visas. Commonly referred to as a B visa, these are in fact 2 quite distinct visas: if you’re traveling to the USA for business reasons, you’ll need a B1 business visa. If you are visiting for tourism purposes, you will need a B2 tourist visa.
The B1 business visa
This visa allows individuals to stay in the United States for up to 6 months for business purposes. It is valid for 1, 3 or 10 years. Please note that when we talk about professional reasons, we are not talking about an H1B work permit visa but about an authorization to do business with American companies or other commercial partners:
- Meet American partners;
- Attend conferences or seminars;
- Participate in meetings with associates if you work for a U.S. company;
- Represent a company during a negotiation, sign a contract or place an order for goods.
Under no circumstances may you engage in any paid activity or receive any sum of money from an American entity during your stay on a Business visa. To work in the USA, you need a work visa.
The B2 tourist visa
This visa is for anyone wishing to visit the United States for more than 90 days. The tourist visa is also used by people who need to travel to the United States for medical services:
- Visit relatives in country;
- Attend or participate in a cultural, sporting or musical event on a voluntary basis;
- Sightseeing, visiting monuments, touring national parks, discovering historical sites, etc. ;
- Learning about American culture, learning manners, etc;
- Undertake a multi-week road trip;
- Camping in the wilderness;
- Receive medical care.
As with the business visa, the B2 visa does not allow you to participate in paid activities.
How to obtain a B1 ans B2 visa?
The B1 and B2 visas are temporary authorizations that do not allow you to immigrate or settle permanently in the United States. The first thing to do before applying for a visa is to gather all your administrative documents that will allow you to be attached to your country of origin but above all to prove your strong attachment to your country of residence: work contract, family booklet, property title, marriage certificate, etc.
To begin your application, you must first complete the DS-160 form. This is a first selection because the information entered will be transmitted directly to the consular services of the U.S. Embassy. Once you have submitted the form, you can then make an appointment at the American embassy for an interview. This step is mandatory and will allow a U.S. representative to verify your identity and the reason for your trip. He or she will then decide if you are eligible to obtain the desired visa. The fee for a B visa has been 185 euros since June 2023. You must pay the fees to validate your visa application.
For travelers wishing to stay for a shorter period of time than 6 months, the ESTA travel authorization is a simpler and more economical solution. In fact, the application fee is only a minimum of $21 and it only takes a few hours to process your application. With the ESTA, you can stay for 90 consecutive days for both tourism and business reasons, so you get the benefits of B1 and B2 visas in one document.
To apply for ESTA today, simply fill out the online form.