Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
Documentation Desired for Visitor Visas
- Deeds from homes or leases that extend beyond the visitation period.
- Bank account statement showing that they are leaving substantial assets behind.
- Letters from employers indicating that the individual is on their annual vacation and is expected back to work on a specific date and their job will be held open for them during the duration of stay.
- Automobile titles.
- Birth certificates of family members who are staying behind.
- Information about family staying at the country of origin.
- Return ticket.
- Cash and credit available to spend in the United States.
Visitor visas (business visitor and tourist) are non-immigrant visas. The traveler must show that they will not stay, work, and live in the United States. Their intent is clear. They will return to their country and will not violate any United States law. Visitors are subject to all the conditions of admissibility as any other entering person who is not a United States citizen.
Visitor visas are immediately available upon approval.
These are some examples of activities that require different categories of visas and cannot be done while on a visitor visa:
- Paid performances, or any professional performance before a paying audience
- Arrival as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft
- Work as foreign press, in radio, film, print journalism, or other information media
- Permanent residence in the United States
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