Most foreign travelers must acquire a U.S. visitor visa in order to enter the United States. The visas required for visitors traveling to the U.S. include the B1 visa for business, the B2 visa for pleasure, or the B1/B2 visa for a multi-purpose trip.
Did you know? The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to visit the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without a visa. Visit the U.S. Department of State website to see if you qualify.
Keep reading to learn about the different types of visitor visas and decide which is best for your situation:
If you are traveling to the U.S. to conduct business, you may need a B1 visitor visa.
Common travel reasons for choosing a B1 visa include the following.
Consult with business associates
Attend a convention or conference
Settle an estate
Negotiate a contract
A B1 visa will remain valid for up to 10 years, and has a maximum duration of 6 months for each period of stay. It allows for either one or multiple entries into the U.S.
If you are traveling to the U.S. for pleasure, you may need a B2 visa. According to the U.S. Department of State, travel purposes eligible for a B2 visa include the following:
Visit with friends or relatives
Participation in amateur musical, sporting, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
Like the B1 visa, a B2 visa will remain valid for up to 10 years, and has a maximum duration of 6 months for each period of stay. Likewise, you may elect either one or multiple entries into the U.S.
By far the most popular visa issued to U.S. visitors. Over 7 million were issued in 2015 according to the U.S. State Department annual report. The B1/B2 visa is for travelers temporarily visiting the United States for both business and pleasure. This U.S. visitor visa applies to travelers visiting with a mixture of the purposes mentioned above.
To qualify for a U.S. visitor visa, be sure you can check off all four of these steps:
1. Prove your trip is for business or pleasure. You must have documentation that shows your trip is for the purpose of business or pleasure. For example, a letter from the business firm indicating the purpose of the trip would serve as proof for a visitor traveling for business.
2. Plan to only stay for a specific and limited period. The B1 and B2 visas are intended for a limited stay in the U.S. Make your length of stay clear when you provide your documentation. For example, a visa letter from your travel medical insurance provider will show dates of coverage. You can get this letter when you purchase our Atlas Travel visitors insurance.
3. Have funds to cover your expenses. During your visa interview, your Consular Officer will ask you to prove you have the necessary funds to support yourself while in the U.S. If you are unable to cover all the costs of your trip yourself, you may provide evidence another person has agreed to pay some or all of the expenses.
4. Have ties to your home. You must prove you have a reason to return home to ensure you will only stay in the country for as long as your visa allows. According to the U.S. Department of State, the following items are some examples that may be sufficient to show your intent to return home.
Evidence of employment in your home country
Birth certificates for your children
According to the U.S. Department of State, there are a number of visitor visa forms you need to complete, and supporting documentation you need to provide in order to qualify for a USA visitor visa.
The U.S. Department of State recommends some nonimmigrant visa holders provide proof of health insurance to establish eligibility.
Even if your visa doesn’t require you to have health insurance, it is important to have access to medical care and insurance that covers you for emergencies. Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group offers Atlas Travel visitors insurance to travelers who have a USA visitor visa.
If you buy an Atlas Travel insurance plan, you can get up to 100% of your eligible expenses for sicknesses and injuries (within the PPO network) covered. Get this coverage for up to 364 days while you are traveling in the U.S.
As an Atlas Travel policy holder, you get the following benefits:
A visa letter showing proof of coverage. Use this for your USA visitor visa application. The letter includes the visa holder's name, passport information, length of stay, and medical coverage maximums.
Access to a network of doctors and hospitals that covers 98% of the United States.
Access to our World Service Center, a team of customer service professionals ready to serve you in the event of a sickness, accident, or other type of medical emergency. This service is provided in English, Spanish, and many other languages.
Buy your Atlas Travel Insurance policy now, or call us at 800-605-2282 if you have additional questions.
Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. We are regulated by the State of Indiana in our capacity as Third Party Administrator. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by Tokio Marine HCC – International Group.