Visitor & Business Visas

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    B1 & B2

    Any visitor entering the United States on a temporary basis generally requires to first obtaining an appropriate visa. A U.S. visit that is temporary and for pleasure, for business (NOT employment), or for medical treatment typically require a Visitor Visa. The “Visitor” visa is a non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1), for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2), or combination of both (B-1/B-2) purposes. Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence.

    B-1 VISA (Athletes (amateur & professional), Business visitors, Domestic employees or Nanny

    The B-1 visa category is for individuals who will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States. The activities may include consulting with business associates, traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates, settling an estate, contract negotiations, short-term training, and for transiting through United States.

    Applicant is allowed a maximum total amount of time of 1 YEAR in B-1 status on any one trip. The spouse and children of B-1 visa holders are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. Each of the dependents accompanying or following to join must apply separately for a B-2 visa.

    Certain business visitors require employment authorization. Those include personal or domestic servant who is accompanying or following to join an employer who seeks admission into, or is already in the United States in a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, or TN non-immigrant classification; domestic servant of a U.S. citizen accompanying or following to join his or her U.S. citizen employer, who has a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country, and who is temporarily visiting the United States; and foreign airline employee engaged in international transportation of passengers, freight, whose position with the foreign airline would otherwise entitle the employee to treaty trader nonimmigrant classification (E-1). Besides, such applicants must demonstrate that they have a residence abroad with no intention of abandoning it.

    B-2 VISA (Tourism, Vacation, Pleasure Visitors, Medical Treatment)

    B-2 visa is issued if the purpose of planned travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, vacation (holiday), amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, and participation by amateurs, who will receive no remuneration, in musical, sports and similar events or contests. If one is going primarily for tourism but want to take a short course of study which is recreational (and not for credit towards a degree), and the course is less than 18 hours per week, it is permitted on a visitor visa. Travelers coming to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less from qualified countries may be eligible to visit the U.S. without a visa if they meet the visa waiver program requirements.

    Under law the presumption is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that the purpose of their trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature and plan to remain only for a specific limited period of time. The applicant must have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and stay in the United States. Besides, it must be shown that the applicant has a residence outside the United States with no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties ensuring return abroad at the end of the visit. Also, applicant must show that he or she is otherwise admissible to the United States.




    Yes. You must file an Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status (Form I-539), and include the required fee and documents listed in the filing instructions.


    Yes, if it is not for credit towards a degree or academic certificate.






    You may apply for an extension of stay in the United States if: you were lawfully admitted as a non-immigrant; you have not committed any act that makes you ineligible to receive any immigration benefit; there is no other factor that requires you to depart the US prior to extending status (for example, officer at Port of entry makes a notation on I-94 that no change of status is allowed or if officer determines that you should obtain a new visa prior to extending your status); and you submit an application for extension of stay using Form I-539 before the expiration date on your I-94. Note: under very limited circumstances only USCIS will excuse a late submission.






    Usually, USCIS will not grant an extension of stay. However, if you believe that you have compelling unforeseen circumstances beyond your control that prevented you from filing on time, USCIS may grant an extension. If you stay is about to expire make sure you file the application in time for USCIS to receive it before your status expires.


    An extension of stay is not automatic. USCIS will look at your situation, your status, the reasons you want to extend your stay and decide. If USCIS grants it, they decide how long to extend your stay. Usually, USCIS will not grant an extension if circumstances indicate than an extension is not warranted.


    Your lawful non-immigrant status ends, and you are out of status when the I-94 expires, even if you have timely applied to extend your non-immigrant status. Generally, as a matter of discretion, USCIS will defer any removal proceedings until after the petition is adjudicated and USCIS decides your extension of non-immigrant status request. Nevertheless, Department of Homeland Security may bring a removal proceeding against you, even if you have an application for extension of status pending. Even though you are not actually in a lawful non-immigrant status, you do not accrue “unlawful presence” for purpose of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the INA, while your extension of status application is pending if it was filed prior to the I-94 expiration.


    Yes. If taking short trips (30 days or less) to Canada (or even Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands) during the course of your visit to the U.S., hold onto your I-94 or I-94 (W); it should only be turned in when you leave the U.S. to return home.


    Medical emergencies requiring a doctor’s care, etc. are not considered unauthorized overstays, however, you will need to bring proof of the cause of your overstay next time you travel to the U.S. in order for it to be forgiven.


    Delays beyond the traveler’s control, such as cancelled or delayed flights, are not considered unauthorized overstays. Ask the airline for a letter affirming the delay or a copy of your cancelled boarding pass and bring it with you next time you travel.