As of January 17, 2010, all applications for B1 and B2 visas must be submitted electronically using the online form DS-160.
Most applicants applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa are temporary visitors coming to the United States for business or pleasure. "B-1" visas are issued to temporary visitors for business and self-financed short-term training; "B-2" to temporary visitors for pleasure; a combination of both "B-1/B-2" can also be issued.
A temporary visitor for business/training or pleasure must establish that s/he:
- Has a residence outside the United States which will not be abandoned;
- Is coming to the United States for a definite temporary period;
- Will depart upon the conclusion of the visit;and
- Has sufficient funds to cover expenses of the visit.
"Business" does not mean gainful employment. A "B-1" visa recipient may come to the United States to consult with a business associate, negotiate a contract, buy materials, participate in a professional conference or undertake independent research. A "B-2" visa recipient may tour the United States, visit friends and relatives or go for medical treatment.
For the issuance of a temporary visitor visa, United States law requires that the applicant has a residence abroad that s/he does not intend to abandon. This residence is usually established by showing ties with the home country. Such ties may include business, employment, family, property or other connections, tangible or intangible, which satisfy a consular officer that the applicant will leave the United States voluntarily after a temporary visit and that they have no intention of applying for immigrant status. A visa is not a guarantee of entry into the United States, it is simply permission to apply for entry into the United States.