Entering the United States on a temporary basis generally requires one to first obtain an appropriate visa. A U.S. visit that is temporary and for pleasure, for business (NOT employment), or for medical treatment typically require a visitor visa.
While it does not permit gainful employment while in the U.S., the B-1 for business is appropriate for certain activities related to commercial transactions. This visa category is used for personal and/or domestic attendants of certain nonimmigrants and U.S. citizens. The B-2 category is intended for tourism, social visits, certain medical treatments, and participation in amateur sports, music, and similar events. This category is also used for domestic partners not in a marital relationship, to accompany their qualifying partners.
Under applicable laws and regulations, B-1/B-2 visitors may be admitted for a period of one year, with the potential to extend the visit another six months; however, an initial admission period of six months is typical. Within the legal limits, the acceptable period of admission is determined at the port of entry, based on the purpose of the visit and other discretionary factors.
Individuals from designated countries may request the B-1/B-2 visa be waived by using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for temporary visits to the United States. The VWP follows a separate set of procedures and has specific requirements and restrictions different from the B-1/B-2 category.