B1/B2 visas are commonly used by visitors from other countries who come to the United States for business or pleasure. These visas allow holders to stay in the U. S. for a predetermined amount of time, depending on their nationality and other factors.
Knowing exactly how long you can stay on a B1/B2 visa can be confusing, so it’s important to understand the rules and regulations before traveling to the U. S. Here’s what you need to know about staying in the U. S. on a B1/B2 visa.
The B1/B2 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to foreign nationals who wish to enter the country for business or tourism purposes.
The amount of time a person can stay on a B1/B2 visa depends on several factors, including the individual’s country of origin and the purpose of their visit.
Generally speaking, individuals on a B1/B2 visa are allowed to stay in the United States for up to six months.
This period of stay is calculated from the date of entry into the United States. Upon entering the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will stamp the passport with the date of entry and the date that the visa expires. It is important to note that this expiration date does not necessarily indicate the exact date of departure from the United States.
In some cases, individuals may be able to extend their stay in the United States beyond the original six-month period. To do so, they must file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before their authorized stay expires.
In order to be eligible for an extension, individuals must demonstrate that they have compelling reasons for extending their stay, such as additional business activities or an unforeseen medical issue.
It is important to note that the maximum length of stay for individuals on a B1/B2 visa is generally one year, even if an extension is granted.
In conclusion, individuals on a B1/B2 visa are typically allowed to stay in the United States for up to six months. In some cases, they may be able to extend their stay for up to one year, provided they have compelling reasons for doing so.
It is important to note that the maximum length of stay on a B1/B2 visa is generally one year, and individuals who wish to remain in the United States for longer than one year must apply for a different type of visa.
President Trump has been a harsh critic of illegal immigration even before he moved into the Oval Office. On April 22, 2019, he issued a memo that called the current overstay rates “unacceptably high” and termed them as a “widespread problem.”
He also instructed federal agencies like the USCIS and DHS to take action against countries and individuals that have an overstay rate of more than 10%. Actions against people have generally included deportation and ban on any future entry into the country.
So, it’s all the more important for you to know the duration of your authorized stay under the B-1/B-2 visa.
In case you wish to stay for a longer duration, there is an option to file an application for visa extension. Here’s how you can apply for it.
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When to Apply for Visa Extension
You can apply for it if there is a valid reason for change of plans, you entered the US legally, you have not in any way violated any of the conditions of your visa and you can sustain yourself financially for the extended duration.
Remember that an extension needs to be filed before your current B-1/B-2 visa expires. You can check the expiry date on the I-94 Arrival-Departure record. In case you fail to do so, you could be deported and/or face a permanent ban on entry into the US due to overstaying your visa.
The USCIS recommends that people seeking an extension should file the application at least 45 days before the expiry of their visa. The fee for a visa extension application is $370. In case you are also applying for your spouse and children, they will be included in the same application fee.
The documents needed while filing a visa extension with the USCIS include:
- Completely filled “Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status” or the I-539 Form
- A letter that adequately describes the reason for seeking an extension
- Documents to prove your ability to bear the expenses for the extended stay. This can include bank statements, income tax receipts, credit card statements or similar details of your sponsor (if applicable)
Remember to check whether your passport is valid for 6 months beyond the extension you’ve requested for.
After the application is successfully filed, you will be given a receipt with a 13-digit case number, along with the expected processing time.
What If I Get Visa Extension?
In case your request is approved, you will receive a new I-94 card, which will contain the revised official departure date.
Make sure you create a copy of the same and keep it safe, since acts as a reference for any future US trips. When you leave the country, you’ll have to submit both the old and new I-94 cards.
If your application is rejected, a letter explaining the reason for it will be provided. You will then need to leave the US before your original B-1/B-2 visa expires.