Alien visitors to the United States who come for pleasure are covered by the B-2 non-immigrant visa (NIV) category. 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. By and large, periods of stay in the United States under the B-2 visa category are brief and include such activities as vacationing, visiting relatives, visiting prospective academic institutions, and seeking health care. Trips that are made to the United States in this category cannot involve employment or, with a few exceptions, academic study programs. However, as noted, an individual can use the B-2 visa to visit prospective academic institutions, prior to undertaking a program of study.
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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 at most. However, under proper circumstances, a period of admission of one year on initial entry is obtainable.
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. B-2 holders are routinely granted an initial period of entry of six months. Only in rare circumstances, however, can a visitor be granted an initial period of entry exceeding six months. B-2 holders are not permitted to work for a U.S. employer unless authorized by the USCIS to do so. B-2 holders may change status to other non-immigrant status, like H-1, J-1, F-1 or B-1. However, one should be cautious when changing from B-2 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 improper. The USCIS considers such an act to be fraudulent, since the alien failed to disclose the actual reason for seeking the B-2 visa. In such instances, serious ramifications may result, such as exclusion and/or removal from the United States. In addition, such behavior could make it extremely difficult to obtain another visa for entry into the United States in the future.
A B-2 holder may apply to extend his/her status for six more months if he/she wishes to stay longer for the visit. While extensions of stay may be obtained, any extensions granted may not exceed six months at a time. Moreover, 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 status to a different non-immigrant status. If you would like a free consultation on your case, please click here. For more information about the process of extending your B-2 status, please click here.