NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

B-1/ B-2 Visitor Visa

Overview

B-1 and B-2 visa classification is available to foreign born nationals who wish to enter the U.S. temporarily for business (B-1), or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). A B-1 or B-2 visa may only be used for the stated purpose or intent. Except under very limited circumstances, persons planning to travel to the U.S. for any other purpose such as study, employment, training, etc., must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category, even if they already possess a valid B visa.) Moreover, a person may not hold more than one Non-immigrant visa classifications at a time, including B-1/B-2.

Application Procedures

If the applicant is outside of the U.S., he or she must apply directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. (Please note: in some cases, the applicant must apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country. See the Visa Issuance section for more details.)

If the applicant is inside the U.S. and wishes to change to or extend his or her B-1 or B-2 Non-immigrant visa status, he or she must apply for approval from the USCIS. A variety of limitations and factors may preclude one's eligibility to change or extend one's B-1 or B-2 Non-immigrant visa status and consultation with a licensed immigration attorney is strongly recommended.

Time Limits

The duration of one's stay in B-1 or B-2 status is stamped onto the most recent I-94 Departure Record. This document is received either upon entry to the U.S. in B-1 or B-2 status or is attached to the most recent I-797 Notice of Action granting a change of status or extension of status as issued by the USCIS—whichever I-94 is issued later in time. Some Embassies and Consulates issue multiple-entry B1/B2 visas that are valid for up to ten years. However, this does not mean that the visa holder is permitted to stay in the U.S. for ten years. The expiration date on the visa indicates until only the date until which the visa holder may enter the U.S.. In contrast, the date on the I-94 card indicates the date until which the bearer may remain in the U.S. on that specific visit.

Employment

B1/B2 Non-immigrant status does not confer work authorization. B-1 visa holders may only accept payment by foreign employers, except under very limited circumstances. B-2 visa holders are not permitted to earn wages or any contractual payment from a U.S. source.

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