B-2 for pleasure or for medical treatment
The B-2 visa enables tourists to enter the US, where an ESTA is not applicable either because the applicant is not from one the Visa Waiver Program countries, or because their intended trip is for longer than the duration limit of the ESTA (90 days). The B2 visa is often referred to as the tourist visa USA and can also be used for travellers that are going to the US to receive medical treatment.
The process of applying for a B-2 visa can take a while, starting with the completion of a DS-160 form and followed up by an interview with the US Embassy. If you are in the UK you can go to the embassy in London or Belfast to have your interview.Waiting times to get your interview scheduled can vary so you should apply as early as possible if you have a trip to the US planned in the near future.
Your DS-160 form must be submitted at least 24 hours before you are scheduled for your interview. You must upload a photo as part of the application process, as well as answer the relevant questions.
Please note that you must print the DS-160 confirmation page and bring it to your interview. During your interview, you will be asked a number of questions regarding your intended visit to the US and you may also be asked about your finances and how long you are intending to visit the US for.
The information you provide in your DS-160 and the questions that you answer in the interview will be used by the US Embassy to decide whether they are happy to grant you with a B-2 Visa for tourism or medical treatment. After your interview, there is further visa processing before you find out whether your visa is approved or not. If you do have your visa denied, then you can only apply again if you have evidence that you can overcome the basis of the refusal.
Other travel purposes that are allowed under the B-2 visa include:
- Visiting family/friends
- Participation in social events
- Amateurs sports/music or similar event participation (as long as not getting any payment)
- Short recreational study courses (e.g. a cookery course, not including credit for degree)
If you are planning to visit the US for reasons such as studying, temporary work, or as a journalist then you cannot use a B-2 visa and you are required to apply for the relevant type of visa for your plans.