The B categories of visas are issued by the US government to foreign citizens who wish to enter the country for a temporary stay of up to 6 months. B-1 visas are issued to those who seek entry for business purposes, while B-2 visas are issued for casual visits or medical treatment purposes. However, in practice, the two categories are generally combined together and a single B-1/B-2 visa is issued.
What is important to know is that there are things that you are permitted to do under this visa category while you are in the United States, while some activities are prohibited, such as working for a salary. So, before you travel, make sure you learn more about this.
Allowed Duration Between Visits to USA on a B1/B2 Visa
The US government hasn’t set a minimum interval between consecutive visits for B1/B2 visa holders. However, the frequency of visits should match the purpose of the visits. For instance, those visiting USA for business purposes won’t have any problems entering the country more than 10 times a year for week-long stays, if their work demands it.
On the other hand, if you’re a US citizen and your parents try to re-enter the country after having spent 6 months with you just a month ago, then they might have to justify the need for the trip. Generally speaking, people who have spent 5-6 months in America on a leisure trip should wait for at least 5-6 months more before re-entering the country. However, exceptions can be made in case there is a genuine need.
How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a Visitor Visa?
Usually, visitor visas are granted for a maximum of six months. So, you can stay in the U.S on a visitor visa for a maximum of 6 months. But it might vary depending on the purpose of your visit.
What Should You Take Care of at Immigration?
There can be long lines and significant delays at immigration, once you arrive in the US. This is because the customs and border protection (CBP) officers need to thoroughly inspect everyone. You’ll be asked certain questions and your luggage will be searched. And, in case the officer thinks that you’re lying or deems you a security risk, you could even be sent back and prohibited from entering USA for 5 years.
B-1/B-2 visa holders shouldn’t bring print-outs of their résumé or educational material about immigration in their luggage. This could give the wrong impression to the customs officer. Also, don’t carry illegal or questionable items, such as firearms, illegal drugs, pornography, etc.
Basically, don’t bring things that are contradictory to your visa status or are otherwise questionable.
Common Questions Asked at Immigration
At the airport, the immigration officials might ask you some questions. The key is to answer confidently and honestly. Here are 4 common questions asked at the airport.
What is the purpose of your visit?
The answer you give to this question must match the type of visa you have. For instance, if you have a B-1/B-2 visa and you tell the officer that you’ve come to find a job, you’ll be sent back on the next flight home.
How long will you be staying in the country?
Where will you stay?
You should have clear plans for your stay in America, either at a hotel or with a relative or friend. If you haven’t pre-arranged accommodation, the officer might question whether you should be allowed entry.
What is your current occupation?
This question is asked to analyze your financial capacity as well as your behaviour. Visitors who are unable to give a quick answer may be asked follow-up questions.