Denial of B-2 Visa - Visitor For Pleasure

The B-2 visa classification allows for foreign nationals to enter the United States to visit for pleasure purposes, which refers to legitimate activities of a recreational character. The B-2 is an attractive visa category because it is easy to obtain. There are, however, criteria that must be met to be eligible for a B-2 visa.

For example, a Canadian citizen (visa-exempt), who appears at a Port of Entry to enter the U.S. for pleasure purposes, may be refused entry because her or she is unable to prove sufficient ties to their home country (i.e. employment, property, proof of insurance, etc.).

In some cases, an individual who is unable to prove such ties, may be deemed inadmissible by an inspecting officer under INA § 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), as an immigrant who, at the time of admission, was not in possession of “a valid unexpired immigrant visa, reentry permit, border crossing identification card, or other valid entry document required by the INA, and a valid unexpired passport, or other suitable travel document, or document of identity and nationality if such document is required…” Thus, it is important to avoid such a finding of inadmissibility pursuant to INA § 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) because it provides a basis in which a Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") officer may issue an expedited removal order.

In general, a foreign national seeking admission under B-2 status must be able to prove that he or she: 

  • Has a residence in a foreign country and does not intend to abandon it;
  • Is not inadmissible to enter the U.S.;
  • Intends to enter the U.S. temporarily;
  • Will engage in legitimate activities relating to pleasure; and
  • Has made financial arrangements to carry out the purpose of his or her visit and then depart for the U.S.

For most foreign nationals, the first step to obtaining a B-2 visa is applying for one at the U.S. Consulate in his or her home country.  After being issued a B-2 visa, the second step is to establish to the satisfaction of CBP that the foreign national is seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in permissible B-2 activities. 

Canadian citizens, since they are visa-exempt, can simply present themselves at a Port of Entry for inspection and admission into the U.S. in B-2 status.  Again, a Canadian must also be able to demonstrate to CBP that his or her proposed activities fall within the scope of permissible B-2 business activities.

The Proper Utilization of the Temporary Visitor for Pleasure (B-2) Visa

Generally, the B-2 category is available to enter the U.S. for tourism and other recreational activities. In addition, foreign nationals should be classified B-2 visitors for pleasure if they are traveling to the United States for the following reasons:

  • Tourism and social visits to relatives or friends;
  • Health purposes;
  • Participate in conventions, conferences, or convocations or fraternal, social or service organizations;
  • Coming primarily for tourism but who will also incidentally engage in a short course of study;
  • Engage in an amateur entertainment or athletic activity, even if the incidental expenses associated with the visit are reimbursed;
  • You are a dependent of a foreign national member of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces temporarily assigned to duty in the United States;
  • You are a dependent of a category "D" visa crewman who is coming to the U.S. solely for the purpose of accompanying the principal foreign national;
  • You are a foreign national spouse or child, including an adopted child, of a U.S. citizen or resident alien, if the purpose of the visit is to accompany or follow to join the spouse or parent for a temporary visit;
  • You are a dependent of a nonimmigrant who is not entitled to derivative status, such as in the case of an elderly parent of an E-1 foreign national, or a domestic partner;
  • You are a foreign national coming to meet the your fiancé(e)’s family (to become engaged; to make arrangements for a wedding; or to renew a relationship with the prospective spouse);
  • You are a spouse married by proxy to a foreign national in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant status who will apply for a change of status after consummation of the marriage;
  • You are a foreign national who is entitled to the benefits of section 329 of the INA and who seeks to take advantage of such benefits irrespective of the foreign residence abroad requirement of section 101(a)(15)(B);
  • You are a dependent of a foreign national member of the U.S. Armed Forces who qualifies for naturalization under section 328 of the Act and whose primary intent is to accompany the spouse or parent on the service member's assignment to the U.S.;
  • You are a foreign national entering the U.S. to attend courses for recreational purposes; or
  • You are a foreign national seeking to enter the U.S. in emergent circumstances, when you are otherwise entitled to lawful permanent resident status.


B-2 Visa