Generally, visitors for pleasure are eligible for a B-2 visa or Waiver Tourist (WT) under the Visa Waiver program (VWP).
- B-2 tourist visas may be used to visit the United States for holidays, tourism, or to make social visits to relatives or friends, etc.;
- B-2 tourist visas may not be used to retire or reside in the United States.
Other business activities covered by the B-2 Visitor Visa or Visa Waiver Program (WT)
An amateur by definition is not a member of any professions associated with that activity. Therefore, an amateur, or group of amateurs performing in a social and/or charitable context, or as a competitor in a talent show or contest is eligible for a B-2 visa, or WT, if otherwise qualified, provided they will not be paid for their performance. They may, however, receive expenses incidental to the visit. Although the performers cannot be paid for their performance, they may be performing where an attendance fees is charged. Provided the fee is just to cover or defray the actual cost of holding the event, or if there is a profit, the money goes to charity rather than a commercial cause, the B-2 visa or WT is permissible.
Thus, an amateur or a group of amateurs who will not be paid for performances and will perform in a social and/or charitable context or as a competitor in a talent show, contest, or athletic event is eligible for B-2 classification, even if the incidental expenses associated with the visit are reimbursed.
NOTE: An amateur is someone who normally performs without remuneration (other than an allotment for expenses). A performer who is normally compensated for performing cannot qualify for a B-2 visa or WT even if they do not make a living at performing.
An amateur athlete or group of athletes competing in an athletic event for which they will receive no payment, other than incidental expenses, are eligible for a B-2 visa or entry as a WT.
NOTE: An amateur is someone who normally performs without remuneration (other than an allotment for expenses). An athlete who is normally compensated for performing cannot qualify for a B-2 visa or WT even if they do not make a living at performing.
Cohabitating Partners, Extended Family Members and Other Household Members not Eligible for Derivative Status.
A B-2 visa is appropriate for those who are members of a household of another nonimmigrant visa holder (e.g. E-1, E-2, E-3, F-1, H-1B, H-3, I, J-1, L-1, O-1, P-1, R-1), but who are not eligible for derivative status. Such individuals include but are not limited to the following:
- Cohabitating partners or common-law spouses;
- Elderly parents of temporary workers;
- Accompanying parents of minor F-1 child students; and
- Household members of a U.S. citizen who normally lives and works overseas, but is returning to the United States for a temporary time period.
B-2 classification may also be given to a spouse or child who would normally qualify for derivative status (other than A or G status) but for whom it may be inconvenient or impossible to apply for the proper H-4, L-2, F-2 or other derivative visa, provided that the derivative individual intends to maintain a residence outside the United States and otherwise meets the B visa eligibility requirements. If such an individual plans to stay in the United States for more than six months, he or she should request a one-year entry when they enter the United States, although the length of stay is discretionary.
Other B-2 or WT permissible activities include, but are not limited to the following:
- Medical Reasons: visitors coming to the United States for health purposes;
- Participation in Social Events such as conventions, conferences or convocation of fraternal, social or service organizations; and
- Short course of study: is allowed where the person is coming to the United States primarily for tourism, who also incidentally will engage in a short course of study during their visit.