Business/Tourist Visa

FAQ

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Overview

The B-1/B-2 visitor visa is for people traveling to the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Generally, the B-1 visa is for travelers consulting with business associates, attending scientific, educational, professional or business conventions/conferences, settling an estate or negotiating contracts. The B-2 visa is for travel that is recreational in nature, including tourism, visits with friends or relatives, medical treatment and activities of a fraternal, social or service nature. Often, the B-1 and B-2 visas are combined and issued as one visa: the B-1/B-2.

Qualifications

If you apply for a B-1/B-2 visa, you must demonstrate to a consular officer that you qualify for a U.S. visa in accordance with the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 214(b) of the INA presumes that every B-1/B-2 applicant is an intending immigrant. You must overcome this legal presumption by showing:

  • That the purpose of your trip to the United States is for a temporary visit, such as business, pleasure, or medical treatment
  • That you plan to remain in the United States for a specific, limited period of time
  • Evidence of funds to cover your expenses while in the United States, such as a bank book
  • Evidence of a residence outside the United States, as well as other binding social or economic ties, that will ensure your return abroad at the end of your visit

Personal or domestic employees and crew members working aboard vessels within the Outer Continental Shelf may qualify for B-1 visas under certain circumstances.

Application Items (required)

If you apply for a business/tourist visa, you must submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
  • Your expired passports issued within the past 10 years
  • One color photograph 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) taken within the past 6 months against a white background (Please attach your photo to the upper left corner of the DS-160 confirmation page).  Click here for more information about photos. Please note applicants are not permitted to wear eyeglasses in photos.
  • An interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service.

Non-Japanese applicants must also include:

  • Photocopy (both sides) of the Japanese Alien Registration Card or “Zairyu” card

In addition to these items, please  bring any documents you believe support your application. If your visa is issued, there may be an additional visa  reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the amount is.

How to Apply

Application procedures vary between consular posts. Click here for complete details.

Supporting Documents (optional)

Supporting documents are just one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case  is accorded every consideration under the law.

Please bring the  documents listed below to your interview. Original documents are always preferred over photocopies. English translations must be attached to all documents in a foreign language. Do not fax, email or mail any supporting documents to the Embassy or Consulate.

  • Current proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, or assets.
  • Your travel itinerary and/or an explanation of your planned trip.
  • A letter from your employer detailing your position, salary, how long you have been employed, any authorized vacation, and the business purpose (if any) of your U.S. trip.
  • Criminal/court records pertaining to any arrest or conviction, even if you completed your sentence or were later pardoned.

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility.

Additionally, you should consider bringing any of the following documents that are relevant to your situation:

Students

Bring your latest school results, transcripts and degrees/diplomas. Also bring evidence of financial support such as monthly bank statements, fixed deposit slips, and a certificate of enrollment.

Working adults

Bring a letter from your employer that includes a description of your position and your salary, as well as  pay slips from the most recent three months.

Visiting a relative

Bring photocopies of your relative's proof of status in the U.S. (e.g. Green Card, naturalization certificate, valid visa, etc).

Previous visitors to the United States

If you were previously in the United States, any documents attesting to your immigration or visa status

Supporting Documents for Applicants Seeking Medical Care

If you wish to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, please bring the following documentation:

  • A medical diagnosis from a physician in Japan explaining the nature of your ailment and the reason you require treatment in the United States.
  • A letter from a physician or medical facility in the United States expressing a willingness to treat this specific ailment and detailing the projected length and cost of treatment (including doctors' fees, hospitalization fees, and all medical-related expenses).
  • A statement of financial responsibility from the individuals or organization paying for your transportation, medical and living expenses. The individuals guaranteeing payment of these expenses must provide proof of their ability to do so, often in the form of bank statements, statements of of income/savings, or certified copies of income tax returns.

Supporting Documents for Applicants Seeking Visas to Attend Technical Conferences

Non-Japanese applicants going to the U.S. to participate in a science or technology-related conference must bring the following documentation in addition to the documents listed above:

  • Complete CV or resume
  • Complete list of publications (if applicable)
  • Letter of acceptance/invitation from the conference organizer

Other Business Activities

Business visas are appropriate for the following activities:

Visitors who plan to travel to the U.S. for business, without receiving salary or other remuneration from a U.S. source, may apply for a business visa. The visa type is "B-1".  However, most Japanese visitors to the U.S. do not need a visa if their trip is less than 90 days. Please refer to the Visa Waiver Program to see if you can travel to the U.S. without a visa.

“Business” generally means engaging in an activity other than actual labor.  Business visas can be appropriate for sales activities, voluntary work, certain commercial workers and service engineers, speakers and lecturers, conference attendees, researchers, business ventures, and medical clerkships.

Business Venture. The B-1 visa is the appropriate visa classification for individuals travelling to the United States to survey potential sites for a business and/or to lease premises.

The holder of a B-1 visa may not remain in the United States to manage the business. If the individual plans to stay in the United States, a work visa is necessary.

Medical Elective. An elective clerkship which affords practical experience and instruction in the various disciplines of medicine under the supervision and direction of faculty physicians at a U.S. medical school's hospital may be undertaken on a B-1 visa. The clerkship must be an approved part of the individual's foreign school education with no remuneration from the hospital.

When applying for a visa, a letter from the U.S. medical school outlining the nature and duration of the stay and source of remuneration, if any, should accompany the application. If travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, please present the letter from the school   at the port of entry.

Students seeking training as physiotherapists, dentists, nurses or veterinarians require H-3 visas.

Researcher. Individuals engaged in independent research may be eligible for a B-1 visa provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source and the results of the research will not benefit an American institution. Those who will receive payment from a U.S. source and/or whose research will benefit a U.S. institution  will need an exchange visitor (J-1) or a temporary work visa.

Selling. Individuals travelling to the United States to participate in exhibitions, sign contracts, and take orders for merchandise produced in and delivered from Japan, may be eligible for a B-1 visa. The holder of a B-1 visa may not actually sell or take orders for merchandise produced in the United States. If the proposed activities do not fit this description, a temporary work visa is needed.

Service Engineer. Engineers travelling to the United States to install, service, or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a company in Japan to a buyer in the United States under a purchase contract requiring that the Japanese company provide such services may apply for a B-1 visa. The individual must possess the specialized knowledge essential to perform the services, receive no remuneration from a U.S. source, and the company must not receive any payment for these services in addition to that specified in the original contract of sale. If the proposed activities are not as described, a temporary work visa is needed.

The B-1 visa does not cover building or construction work, even if the purchase contract requires that the company provide such services. In such cases, the employee must qualify for a temporary work visa.

The B-1 visa for business is also appropriate for engineers travelling to the United States to train U.S. personnel in the installation, service or repair of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery as specified above. The individuals concerned must continue to be paid by the Japanese company and the contract of sale must specifically require the seller to provide such services.

Speaker/Lecturer: Individuals travelling to the United States in connection with a speaking engagement may apply for a B-1 visa provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source, other than expenses incidental to the visit. Speakers/lectures who will receive an honorarium in addition to incidental expenses may still be eligible for the B-1 visa provided they satisfy the conditions below.

  • The activities will last no longer than nine days at a single institution.
  • The institution is a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization, or an institution of higher education, or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity.
  • Such activities are conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity.
  • The delegate has not accepted payment or expenses from five such institutions during the previous six month period.
  • If the proposed activities do not match this description, an exchange visitor (J-1) or a temporary work visa is necessary.

Conference: Individuals participating in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences or seminars may travel to the United States on B-1 visas. The B-1 visa is also the appropriate visa classification to present a paper at a conference, provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source other than expenses incidental to the stay.

Non-Japanese applicants going to the U.S. to participate in a science or technology-related conference must submit following additional documents:

  • Complete CV or resume
  • Complete list of publications (if applicable)
  • Letter of acceptance/invitation from the conference organizer

Voluntary Work. Individuals participating in voluntary service programs that benefit a U.S. local community, who can establish that they are a member of, and have a commitment to, a particular recognized religious or nonprofit charitable organization, may be eligible for a B-1 visa if the work to be performed is traditionally done by volunteer charity workers. The individuals must not receive a salary or remuneration from a U.S. source, other than an allowance or other reimbursement for expenses incidental to their stay in the United States. Voluntary workers cannot engage in the selling of articles and/or the solicitation and acceptance of donations.

A voluntary service program is an organized project conducted by a recognized religious or nonprofit charitable organization to provide assistance to the poor or the needy, or to further a religious or charitable cause.

If the proposed activities do not match this description, an exchange visitor (J-1) or a temporary work visa is necessary.

Note: When applying for entry into the United States as a voluntary worker with a visa, or under the Visa Waiver Program, please bring a letter from your U.S. sponsor with the following information:

  • Your name and date and place of birth
  • Your foreign permanent residence address
  • The name and address of your initial destination in the U.S.
  • The anticipated duration of your assignment

Note: The visa validity period is not the same as the authorized length of stay. At the time of your entry into the U.S., a USCIS officer will determine the length of your stay in the U.S. Extensions of stay will be granted only in cases of sudden or compelling humanitarian reasons. The maximum extension for travelers entering the U.S. on a B visa is six months.

Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS)

In accordance with the agreement signed between the United States and China to extend visa validity, beginning on November 29, 2016, Chinese citizens with 10-year B1, B2 or B1/B2 visas in Peoples’ Republic of China passports will be required to update their biographical and other information from their visa application via a website every two years, or upon getting a new passport or B1, B2, or B1/B2 visa, whichever occurs first.  This mechanism is called EVUS - Electronic Visa Update System.

The EVUS website is now open to the public for enrollments at www.EVUS.gov.  CBP will not collect a fee for EVUS enrollment at this time. CBP anticipates the eventual implementation of an EVUS enrollment fee, but does not have a time frame. Until the implementation of a fee, travelers can enroll in EVUS without charge.  The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will keep visa holders informed of new information throughout the year. For further information, please visit www.cbp.gov/EVUS.‎

根据美中双方签署的延长签证有效期的协议,自2016年11月29日起,凡持有10 年 期B1,B2 或 B1/B2签证的中华人民共和国护照持有人需要每两年或在获取新护照或最长有效期的B1、B2或B1/B2签证时时(以先到者为准),通过网站更新他们签证申请上的个人资料及其它信息。这个机制我们称之为EVUS –签证更新电子系统。

EVUS的登记网站www.EVUS.gov 现已开放接受登记。美国海关和边境保护局(CBP)目前不会收取登记费用。美国海关和边境保护局预期EVUS登记收费最终会实施,但目前尚未落实执行时间。在收费实施前,旅客可以免费完成EVUS登记。美国国土安全部海关和边境保护局将在今年及时向签证持有人公布最新的信息。获取更多的信息,请访问www.cbp.gov/EVUS

More Information

For more information about business and tourist visas, visit the Department of State's website.