B-2 Visas

Aliens visiting the United States temporarily for pleasure are covered by the B-2 non-immigrant visa (NIV) category. 8 CFR §41.31(b)(2) defines pleasure as “legitimate activities of a recreational character including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities.” The B-2 NIV category is broad sweeping and the great majority of visitors who enter the U.S. every year do so as non-immigrant visitors under the B-2 visa category. Trips that are made to the United States in this category cannot involve employment or, with a few exceptions, academic study programs. However, an individual can use a B-2 visa to visit prospective academic institutions, prior to undertaking a program of study.

The duration of authorized stay for a B-2 holder is decided by the immigration officer at the time of the B-2 holder's entry into the U.S. The great majority of visits to the United States under the B-2 visa category are brief, lasting only a few weeks or a few months. However, any B-2 visitor who is found admissible by the inspecting CBP officer at the time of entry, and therefore issued a Form I-94, will be admitted for a minimum of 6 months, regardless of the time requested (OI § 214.2(b); 8 CFR § 214.2(b)(2)). Under proper circumstances, a period of admission of one year on initial entry is obtainable. Extensions to the initial duration of stay can be obtained in increments of 6 months.

B-2 holders may change status to other non-immigrant status, like H-1, J-1, F-1 or B-1. A change of status from B-1 or B-2 to J-1or F-1 is a common scenario because enrolling in a course of study is expressly prohibited while under either of the B visa categories. However, one should be cautious when changing from B-1 status to another non-immigrant status. Using the B category as a stepping stone to a different non-immigrant status for the purpose of avoiding the more stringent application procedures associated with the new status is frowned upon by USCIS.

In addition, at least in theory, a person in B-2 status may apply for an immigrant visa or status.

Zhang & Associates, P.C., can assist you in applying for an extension of your B-2 status. Our office can also assist you in changing your B non-immigrant status to a different non-immigrant status. If you would like a free consultation concerning your case, please click consultation.


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