What Are B-1 and B-2 Visas?
One of the most common non-immigrant visas people use to enter the United States is the B1/B2 non-immigrant visa. This visa allows people to travel to the U.S. for business purposes (B1 Visa) or for tourism (B2 Visa). The B1/B2 visa covers many reasons for temporary travel to the United States. Please review the categories below.
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Typically, under 180 days or six months. If you wish to extend your stay, you must file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and pay the filing fee. You must file at least 45 days before your
visa expires. You must also be eligible under the following conditions:
- You were lawfully admitted into the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa
- Your visa is still valid
- You have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible for a visa
- You have not violated the terms of your admission, and
- Your passport is valid and will remain valid during your stay
Although most B1/B2 visas are approved, there are some circumstances in which the consular officer may determine your ineligibility for a visa. You may be denied if you did not complete the visa application fully or did not provide all documentation, you were convicted of certain crimes, you lied on your application, you have a history of over-extending your stay in the United States past the authorized period, or for various other reasons. You may be able to apply for an ineligibility waiver, but it is not a guarantee that this waiver will be granted. If you think you may be ineligible for a B1/B2 visa or if your visa was denied, it is important to seek help from an experienced immigration attorney.
If your situation changes while you are in the United States under a B1/B2 visa, you may be able to change your nonimmigrant status to another category. For example, if you marry a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or are offered a job, you may be eligible to change your status. Please note that you may not accept any employment offers or work while in the United States under a B1/B2 visa.
In most circumstances, you will have to go through the initial application process to renew your visa, but some applicants may be eligible for an Interview Waiver (IW). This allows some applicants to renew their visas without going through the consular interview. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying to find out if you are eligible for an IW.