The B-1/B-2 US tourist visa is applied to by a Thai national who intends to go to the United States and stay temporarily either for tourism, business, or medical treatment.
B-1 US Visa
This visit visa is for business purposes, such as attending business conventions or conferences, consulting business partners or associates, negotiating contracts or closing deals, and settling estates and properties.
Eligible Activities on a B-1 Visa
- Consulting with Business Associates: You can enter the U.S. to consult with your business associates.
- Attending Scientific, Educational, Professional, or Business Conventions/Conferences: The visa allows you to attend various types of conventions or conferences.
- Settling an Estate: You can manage the affairs of an estate in the U.S.
- Negotiating Contracts: You can enter to negotiate contracts with U.S. businesses.
- Participating in Short-term Training: You can participate in training sessions, though you cannot be paid by any source in the United States.
- Transiting Through the U.S.: Certain persons may transit through the United States to another country with a B-1 visa.
- Certain Types of Professional Athletes: Athletes who will not receive salary or income from a U.S. source may use a B-1 visa for participating in their sporting activity.
- Artists and Entertainers: Under certain circumstances, artists and entertainers can enter the U.S. under a B-1 visa, provided they are not being paid for performances and are participating in a cultural program.
- Lecturers or Speakers: Provided no salary or income from a U.S. based entity (other than expenses incidental to the visit).
- Research: If you are conducting independent research that will not benefit a U.S. institution, a B-1 visa might be appropriate.
Restrictions of the B-1 Visa
- B-1 visa holders cannot engage in any form of gainful employment in the United States.
- They cannot be paid by a U.S. source for any activities or services performed during their stay.
- The intent of the visit must be temporary, and visitors must demonstrate that they intend to return to their home country once their business is concluded.
B-2 US Visa
This visitor visa is recreational in nature, such as tourism, visiting friends and relatives, or participating in activities that are social or service-oriented. The B-2 visa is also used when the purpose is to undergo medical treatment in the United States. Oftentimes, both visas are issued as one, called the B-1/B-2 visa, because there are instances when the purposes for which these visas are applied for are correlated.
Eligible Activities on a B-2 Visa
- Tourism: This includes vacations, cruises, sightseeing, and visiting major attractions and cities.
- Visiting Friends or Relatives: If you have friends or family in the U.S., you can visit them with a B-2 visa.
- Medical Treatment: Individuals seeking medical treatment in the United States that is not available in their home country can apply for a B-2 visa.
- Participation in Social Events: You can engage in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations.
- Participation by Amateurs in Musical, Sports, and Similar Events: Amateurs can participate in events or contests, but they cannot be paid for participating.
- Enrollment in Short Recreational Courses: You can enroll in short recreational courses of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation).
Restrictions of the B-2 Visa
- Individuals on a B-2 visa are not allowed to work or engage in business activities.
- They cannot enroll in a course of study that counts toward a degree.
- The visit must be temporary, and visitors must demonstrate that they intend to return to their home country after their visit is completed.
- B-2 visa holders should not be paid by a U.S. source for any activities or performances.
Qualifications for US Tourist Visa
The US Immigration and Nationality Act presume that every tourist visa applicant is an intending immigrant. It is the responsibility of the visa applicants to overcome this presumption by demonstrating the following:
- The purpose of the trip is on temporarily either for business, medical treatment or tourism;
- As a temporary visitor, the duration of stay in the United States is only for a specific and limited period;
- While in the US, there is evidence of substantial funds to cover for accommodation and expenses so as not to become a public burden;
- There must be adequate and strong ties to compel the visa applicant to go back to Thailand upon the expiration of the period allowed. Examples of which are residence, employment, and such other economic or social ties.
It is also equally important to be prepared with the necessary information and requirements for submitting the application for visitor visa. These basic requirements must be ready before lodging the application to avoid delays in the processing of the visa.
Here are the things to be submitted when applying for a B-1/B-2 visit visa:
- Completed Application Form DS-160
- Current passport, the validity of which should be at least six months beyond the period of stay in the United States
- Visa photograph in accordance with the photograph requirements
- Acknowledgement receipt for the payment of the visa fee
- There may be additional requirements that the consular officer will ask, but this is dependent on the type of visa applied for the specific purpose for which the visa is applied.
Applying for a US Tourist Visa in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1 – Determine the proper type of visa for your need
Review the common types of Non-immigrant Visa to determine what kind of visitor visa is suited for your purpose of travel. This would be either B1 or B2 US Visa.
Step 2 – Fill out the application online
The DS-160 form is an online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form for temporary travel to the United States. You need to register with your passport information.
It is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet so you need to login first using the credentials you have used on the registration process.
Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and combined with a personal interview as well as to determine an applicant’s eligibility. It is important to read first the Guidelines in Completing the DS-160 Form.
Step 3 – Pay the right visa application fee
You must log in to your online account profile to proceed with payment. It is critical to read the pages of the visa fee listings and how to make your payment online to avoid future complications.
Step 4 – Schedule your interview
All US Visa require an interview. In order to schedule your appointment, make sure you already have the following information at hand:
- Your passport number
- The receipt number from your Visa Fee payment.
- The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.
This process is done online and you must enter accurate information pertaining to your visa application.
Step 5 – Show up to the Scheduled Interview
All applicants regardless of age (except for those applying for diplomatic visa) are required to appear at the US embassy Bangkok for the visa interview. Please keep in mind the important things on the interview date.
Visa applicants should make sure you will be at the embassy 15 minutes earlier of your scheduled appointment time.
Know what must and must not bring before going to the embassy for your visa interview.
There will be a pre-screening process during the scheduled appointment. The DS-160 will be reviewed for any necessary corrections to be made; making sure you are applying for the correct visa classification; qualifying your visa photos base on the required specifications; undergo biometric or finger scanning.
You will be assisted by someone from consular or immigration office during the biometric process.
During the interview, be open and honest with the consult officer.. Do not worry of anything that you might lack because the consular officer can provide you the information on how to obtain those if there are any missing document that’s required before proceeding to the final decision in your US Visa Application.
Important Factors that can Impact the Success of the Visa Applications
Purpose of the Trip or Reason for your Visit
An intending visitor must present sufficient grounds and reasons why they would like to visit the US. US Visitor Visa is issued solely for the purpose of leisure and business trips. The applicant must provide travel itineraries that show activities and schedules during the stay in the US.
Sponsorship and Relationship with the Sponsor
Should the applicant fail to meet the financial capacity to support themselves during their trip to the US, he or she must have a willing sponsor. The sponsor fortifies the application by presenting evidence that he or she is willing to pay the travel expenses on the applicant’s behalf. The US Embassy wants to ensure that the intending visitor is less likely to seek assistance from public funds once in the US.
While the US law permits sponsorship for the visitor visa, the applicant must prove the authenticity of the relationship with the sponsor. For family members, a birth certificate or marriage certificate to show must be presented. Additionally, evidence that shows continuous communication must also be submitted such as pictures, chat conversations, e-mails, etc.
Length and Place of stay in the US
Upon application, the intending visitor has to declare the length of time he/she intends to stay in the US and must provide a date of return to Thailand. The maximum stay in the US under this visa category should not exceed 3 months.
The intending visitor must present hotel accommodation and bookings which shows the place where he/she will stay in the US. If the purpose of travel is to visit a family member or a relative, the applicant must provide the US address of the family. This can be supported by an invitation letter or documents serving as proof of address.
Employment in Thailand
Having a job in your home country will not guarantee to have your visa issued. Immigration officers also look at the length of your current and previous employment, the type of job you have or had, and your current salary income.
The duration of the requested visit to the US will also be measured, as Immigration Officers most likely question applicants who wish to stay for more couple of months. It’s important to consider the nature of your current job and the allowable leave your company issues, thus, you will need to provide a Certificate of Employment stating your position, start date, current status, monthly or annual salary income, and leave certification. Providing this evidence will serve as a reference for the immigration officer who will evaluate your application.
Family Obligation in Thailand
Examples of family obligations are elderly parents who need your presence to take care of their needs and obligation to take care of your child/children, especially when they are still going to school. The applicant should submit official documents establishing the family relationships, letters from physicians explaining important medical conditions of any dependent family members, and documents establishing the current school enrolment of the children.
You may also obtain supporting letters from family members, attesting that they will look after your loved ones while you are shortly away. This will help answer questions of the immigration officer as to who will take care of them if you go to the U.S.
Property and Personal Asset
Individuals are less likely to leave if they own a home, have property, or have large amounts of funds in investment accounts in their home country. While financial assets are required to establish the ability to support the visit, evidence of property and financial assets should also be provided as evidence that the applicant’s connections to the home country. Evidence can include ownership of real estate property, business, or house.
If you have previously visited outside your home country for tourism, and have not overstayed or have followed your allowable stay provided by the juristic immigration, then you are more likely establishing a trust to the immigration officer that you will not overstay during your visit to the U.S. and that you will return to your home country after your vacation.
Who can apply for the US Tourist visa?
US Tourist Visa is meant for individuals planning to travel to the United States for tourism, leisure, or medical treatment. Here is a more detailed list of individuals who may apply for a US tourist visa:
- Tourism and Leisure: Individuals planning short-term visits for vacation, sightseeing, visiting friends or relatives, attending social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations.
- Business Visitors: These individuals should apply for a B-1 visa, but sometimes activities can overlap. B-1 is for attending business meetings, consultations, conferences, or negotiation of contracts. If the purpose of the visit is a combination of tourism and business, applicants might receive a combined B-1/B-2 visa.
- US tourist visa for Thai girlfriend: Your Thai girlfriend must demonstrate to the consulate that her visit is temporary, or for pleasure, and that she intends to return to Thailand after her visit. It is important to show strong ties to her home country, such as employment, property, family, and other obligations that ensure her return.
- Visits for Medical Treatment: Individuals seeking medical treatment that is not available in their home country can apply for a B-2 visa for the duration of their treatment.
- Participants in Social Events: Those participating in conventions of social organizations or events.
- Participants in Amateur Musical, Sports, or Similar Events: Individuals participating in events or contests, but not being paid for participating.
- Enrollment in Short Recreational Courses of Study: This is not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation).
- Domestic Employees or Nannies: Must accompany a foreign national employer.
- Dependents: Spouses and children of B-1 visa holders may be granted B-2 visas if they are accompanying or following to join the principal visa holder.
When applying for any type of US Tourist visa, the applicant will need to prove that they have ties to their home country that will ensure they return home. They also need to demonstrate that they have the financial means to cover their expenses while in the United States and that they intend to leave the U.S. after their temporary stay.
Other Options of US Visa Thailand
Apart from the US tourist visa (B-2), Thai citizens have other visa options for entering the United States, particularly when it comes to family-related visas such as the Fiancé(e) K1 visa and the Spouse CR1 visa.
Fiancé(e) K1 Visa
- This visa is for a foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States to marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
- The U.S. citizen sponsor must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of their Thai fiancé(e).
- After the petition is approved, the Thai fiancé(e) can apply for a K-1 visa through the U.S. embassy in Thailand.
- After the marriage, the Thai citizen can apply for an adjustment of status to a permanent resident (Green Card holder).
Spouse CR1 Visa
- The CR-1 visa is for the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States as a conditional resident.
- The U.S. citizen must file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS.
- The process includes providing evidence of the marriage and passing required medical examinations and an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- The “CR” stands for “conditional resident” and indicates that the granted residency is conditional for two years. After this period, if the marriage is still intact, the conditions can be removed, and the individual can become a permanent resident.
These visas are specifically designed to unite U.S. citizens with their foreign partners. The K1 visa is a single-entry visa, while the CR1 visa grants conditional permanent residency upon entry to the United States. Each type of visa has specific requirements, fees, and processing times, and it’s crucial to follow all the legal steps meticulously. The application process can be complex and time-consuming, often requiring legal and procedural knowledge to ensure a successful outcome. Therefore, many applicants seek assistance from immigration attorneys or consultants who specialize in U.S. immigration law.