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B1 vs. B2 visa

B1 vs. B2 visa
iVisa | Updated on Feb 28, 2019

According to the visa policy of the United States, there are about 180 visa categories. As you can imagine, people travel to the US for many reasons, which is why such labeling is necessary. However, you may have heard about the B1 and the B2 visa. They have a lot of similarities, but they are used for different purposes.


Both B1 and B2 visas fall under the same B category. They are both non-immigrant visas that grant entry in the US for all its holders for maximum one year. Their validity can differ from 6 months to 10 years, but that decision is discretionary and falls into the responsibilities of the consular officer that holds the interview.

Another similarity is that both visas have a similar application process. The application form can be filled in online for both types, which spares the applicants from taking an additional trip to the embassy. The service will soon be available on iVisa as well.

One of the most significant differences between the B1 and the B2 visa is the eligibility criteria. The visas are issued for different purposes. The B1 visa covers business purposes, which means that you can travel with a B1 in the following cases:

  • You want to negotiate a contract with a US company
  • Participate in meetings with US business associates
  • You wish to settle an estate
  • You want to participate or attend conferences related to education, your profession, or your business

The B2, on the other hand, can be used if you travel to the United States for the next reasons:

  • Spend your vacation in the US
  • Take a tour of the US
  • Visit your friends or relatives
  • You want to attend social events
  • You want to receive medical treatment
  • Take part in events or contests related to sports or music, but you do not receive payment for it
  • Take courses, but not for credit (for instance, woodworking classes) The fees for both visas are the same. You are required to pay $160 for whichever visa. However, depending on the nationality, an issuance cost needs to be covered, but that has nothing to do with the visa type.

Both B1 and the B2 visa application confirmation are followed by an interview. There is no difference here. Nevertheless, what you need to prepare for the interview differs. For example, a person who applies for a B1 visa will need different documents than the one that applies for a B2. For example, if a B2 applicant brings to the interview an invitation letter from a friend, which is options, the applicants that wants a B1 must bring an invitation letter if he travels to conduct business with a US company. The questions that the consular officer asks are also very different.

Even if they are very similar, there is enough dissimilarity when it comes to B1 vs B2 visa. They serve different purposes and have different requirements when it comes to the interview. They are put in the same category for the simple fact that they are both non-immigrant visas and cover short stays. If you want to know more on the matter, do not hesitate to contact iVisa’s customer support. We can be reached via phone or online chat.

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