B Visas - Border Crossing Cards/Tourist/Business
Border Crossing Cards & B1/B2 Temporary Visitors for Business or Pleasure
Most non-immigrants are temporary visitors coming for business or pleasure, or both. Most Mexican visitors to the U.S., whether traveling to the border region or beyond, receive a Border Crossing Card, which is both a BCC and a B1/B2 visitor’s visa.
Border Crossing Card (BCC) - The BCC is a credit card-style document with many security features and ten-year validity. Sometimes called a "laser visa," the card is both a BCC and a B1/B2 visitor's visa. Most Mexican visitors to the U.S., whether traveling to the border region or beyond, receive a BCC.
B-1 Temporary visitor for business - B-1 visas are issued to temporary visitors for business. "Business" does not generally include gainful employment (although there are exceptions), but it does include almost any other legitimate commercial activity. A B-1 recipient may come to consult with business associates, negotiate a contract, buy goods or materials, settle an estate, appear as a witness in a court trial, participate in business or professional conventions or conferences, or undertake independent research. Click to see more information about B-1 visas.
B-2 Temporary visitor for pleasure - Most non-immigrants are temporary visitors coming temporarily for pleasure. A B-2 visa is issued for purposes such as touring, visits to friends and relatives, visits for rest or medical treatment, participation in conventions, conferences, or convocations of fraternal or social organizations, and participation by amateurs, who will receive no remuneration, in musical, sports and similar events or contests.
B1/B2 Temporary visitor for business and pleasure - Most applicants should receive a combined B1/B2, enabling them entry for either business or pleasure, or both.
The law requires that the alien have a residence abroad, which he or she does not intend to abandon. This residence is usually established by showing ties with the applicant’s home country. Such ties may include business, employment, family, property or other connections, tangible or intangible, which satisfy a consular officer that the alien will leave the United States voluntarily after a temporary visit.
BCC holders who are authorized to enter to the United States can remain up to 30 days and travel no more than 25 miles beyond the border. Those that wish to travel farther and/or remain longer must request a permit I-94 form (arrival/departure record) in the port of entry at a minimal charge. During the process of applying for the I-94 form, the custom and border protection officer can request updated versions of the same documentation that you presented to the American consular officer in the interview for the visa. They will determine the amount of time you will be permitted to remain in the U.S.
Be sure to return the I-94 Form to the proper authorities when you depart the U.S. (port of entry). This returned portion of the form proves you did not violate U.S. laws by staying in the country too long. It is proof that you obeyed U.S. immigration laws, which is essential if you want to return to the United States at a future date as an immigrant or nonimmigrant.
If you did not return the I-94 form, click for more information.
Refer to Steps to an NIV for information on the application process.
If you are not a resident of Mexico, refer to Third Country Nationals to determine if you can apply for this visa class in Mexico.