Most people refer to this visa status as a “tourist” or “visitor”…so why not designate them as a “T” or “V” visa? Perhaps the U.S. government wanted to recognize the immense financial contributions to the U.S. economy made every year by temporary visitors to our country and designated this visa category for them right after the A-visa. Then again, maybe it was just a Congressional staffer who helped collate the U.S. immigration statute years ago who pinned the “B-1” and “B-2” labels on these visitors.
B-1 Visas are available to persons (other than those coming for the purpose of study, or of performing skilled/unskilled labor, or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media coming to engage in such vocation) having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business.
B-2 Visas are given to persons with the exact same qualifications as B-1s but who are, instead, coming to the US temporarily for pleasure (ie. vacation, sightseeing).
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