Everyone who plans to travel to the USA is aware of the fact that foreign nationals are required a legal document, which allows them to enter the country for a specified amount of time and specific purposes.
American regulations are very strict and many times – quite complicated. One of the biggest confusions among travelers is which visa type is they required to have for tourism, study or business purposes. Is there an option to enter the U.S. without a visa? In this article, we discuss all of these possibilities.
B2 is a nonimmigrant temporary visa. The difference between B1 and B2 visas is that B1 is issued for work purposes while the B2 visa is issued to visitors, who wish to enter the U.S. for pleasure or travel purposes.
Note that on a B2 visa you will not be eligible to study long-term nor work, during your time in America.
Once obtained, the B2 visa gives you the right to travel freely to the United States, move between cities for tourism purposes, visit friends and relatives, etc.
Each visa is issued for a specific amount of time, depending on the individual application. It may vary from three months for single entry to ten years for multiple entries. “Single” entry means you can only enter the U.S. once on the same visa, while “multiple” means you can enter the States more than once on one visa.
ESTA allows eligible citizens of 39 selected countries to travel freely to the U.S. without the need to apply for a visa and skip the whole process.
ESTA is an online travel authorization, which grants its holders the right to multiple entries to the U.S. for a period of two years. To be eligible for the visa waiver, you must be a citizen of any of the 39 visa waiver countries, such as the UK, Australia or Germany. Since ESTA is also issued for travel and leisure purposes, it actually replaces the B2 visa, as long as you are eligible to apply for it.
The application process for a travel authorization is quite simple and rather fast (10 minutes per applicant) in comparison with the document preparation, interview and visa application processing times.
For a successful ESTA application, you must not be suffering from any communicable disease that might be a threat to the general population of the States. Criminal record and being refused ESTA previously might also be reasons for your ineligibility.
In any of those cases, you should apply for a B2 visa instead.
To make a B2 visa application, you must first complete the Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You will be required to insert a recent photo in color to your request. Once the form is completed, print it out and take it with you on the interview.
The interview must be scheduled with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The estimated visa appointment wait and processing times always depend on the city of your application, as well as on the visa category.
Once this is done, you will be required to pay a non-refundable interview fee of $160. Make sure to bring the payment receipt with you at the interview; you will be asked for it.
Apart from these main requirements, you will also need to prove that the aim of your trip is tourism and pleasure. Take along any documents and official papers, supporting this statement. They should focus on the purpose of your trip and your intention to leave the States, once your trip is completed. You will also be required to prove your financial stability and that you will be able to cover all costs for the trip.
However, if you are an eligible citizen of a Visa Waiver country, do not hesitate and apply today for your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).