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What is a visitor visa, and how can you get one?

If you or someone you know is foreign-born and interested in traveling to Illinois, Wisconsin or another part of the United States, you may be wondering whether you may do so with a visitor visa. A visitor visa may fit your needs if you are planning to stay in the country on a temporary basis, and if you are traveling to the United States for business, pleasure, tourism or visiting others.

Perhaps you are looking to travel to the United States for business meetings, for example, or to obtain medical treatment. You may also want a visitor visa if you are coming in to the country for a major sporting event, or for the wedding or birth of a family member. Per the U.S. Department of state, visitor visas typically allow for such activities, though others require other types of visas. For example, you cannot enroll in college or any type of long-term education program with a visitor visa, nor can you work as paid professional or a member of the press on one. You may, however, be able to do so using a different type of student or employment visa.

Visitor visas fall into two categories: B-1 or B-2. Combination B-1-B-2 visas are also available, and for instructions on how to apply for any type of visitor visa, you will want to check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply, as requirements may vary. Generally, you will want to complete Form DS-160 online and then schedule an interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but keep in mind that some locations may have longer waiting times than others.

This information about visitor visas is informative, but it should not replace legal advice.

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