Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

The B-2 Visa Allows You To Visit The United States And Do The Following:

  • Tourism
  • Vacation (Holiday)
  • Visit With Friends or Relatives
  • Medical Treatment
  • Participation in Social Events Hosted by Fraternal, Social, or Service Organizations
  • Participation by Amateurs in Musical, Sports, or Similar Events or Contests, if Not Being Paid For Participating
  • Enrollment in a Short Recreational Course of Study, Not For Credit Toward a Degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)


The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 35 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on the VWP. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel. Travelers are screened at the port of entry into the United States and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program. For a current list of VWP countries click here.