9

I know the US has these two most common visa categories:

  • B1, business visa
  • B2, tourist visa

(This question is not concerned with the other visa types.)

I also read constantly about a B1/B2 visa, and Wikipedia confirms that the above are usually physically issued in a combined form:

In practice, the two visa categories are usually combined together and issued as a "B1/B2 visa" ...

This makes me wonder if there are also dedicated separate physical visas that are only B1 or only B2 visas.

If those do also exist, what set of conditions, roughly, would lead to the issuing of one of those rather than the more common combined visa?

If they do not currently exist, how recently did they formerly exist in the past?

I got thinking about this while tagging questions that discuss B1/B2 visas and wasn't sure how to tag the questions that only mention B1 or B2 visas.

11

Yes, a single visa either B1 or B2 can be issued, but often they are combined. According to the official ustraveldocs.com:

Often, the B-1 and B-2 visas are combined and issued as one visa: the B-1/B-2.

Now, the proof that single B1 or B2 visas are issued in some cases is the official statistics found on travel.state.gov:

enter image description here

As the table shows, they are issued separately but in small numbers. Why they are issued separately in some cases I have no idea and I could not find any information related to this in any official or non-official references. My guess is this totally depends on the interviewer at the consulate/embassy.

  • 2
    Excellent work! I even tried searching for photos of visas on the web and only found B1/B2 and some other categories, but no photos of either standalone B1 or B2. This also has an effect on questions about looking for work in the US, at least things like negotiating contracts are specifically allowed with a B1 or B1/B2, but not with a B2. This is something that never came up in that discussion. – hippietrail Nov 10 '13 at 2:29
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    +1 for fascinating chart, direct link travel.state.gov/pdf/FY2012NIVWorkloadbyVisaCategory.pdf . Must be depressing to be the only person in the world refused a H1C visa... even if only three others got in. – jpatokal Nov 11 '13 at 4:45
1

B1 and B2 can be issued separately but often issued together. The difference is for some countries the limitation of each type is different. For example if you are from a certain country a B2 visa will be limited to 3 months single entry while a B1 can be 1 year multiple. Applicants can request for one specific type depending on the purpose of travel and the duration allowed. The combination of both will always follow the lesser validity.

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