B1 and B2 visas are for visitors who travel to America and plan to return to their country of origin later. They are good for short one-year visits.
More precisely, the B1 visa is for business visits while the B2 visa is for pleasure, tourism and medical visits. However, since many people wind up doing both, the two visas are often issued together as a common B1/B2 visa. This means that you can visit the country several times on business trips and holidays if you want, and you won’t have to worry about the details. There are no quotas or limits on the number of B1/B2 visas issued each year (Understanding ESTA).
When can the B1/B2 Visa be obtained?
While you can do business with a B1/B2 visa, it is important to remember that there are some things you cannot do, since you need other visas to be allowed to do them. Here is what you can do with a B1/B2 visa:
- Recruit and dismiss staff
- Doing research
- Spend and manage money on investments and acquisitions
- Attend business meetings, negotiations and investment and sales/acquisition meetings
- Attend 18 hours for leisure sessions
- Bring back dependents as well as children (only for B2 statuses)
- Attend seminars and conferences without obtaining higher education certifications
- Working as a domestic for someone else with a B1/B2 visa
- Visit the family, Friends and have fun
- Benefit from medical care
- Carry out the activity of amateur animator or athlete
On the other hand, you won’t be able to:
- Perform as a facilitator or as a professional sport
- Enroll in universities as a regular student
- Have certificates or certifications of seminars and conferences
- Carry out paid work
The last restriction can be quite delicate. What this essentially means is that you will not be able to do a job and be paid by a person or an organization. So, while you can continue to take cheques from the company that sent you to work in America, you will not be able to leave and work your local Wal-Mart without changing your visa.
Is your country part of the Visa Waiver Program? The ESTA authorization is for you.