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Non-Immigrant Visas

Frequently Asked Questions About B-1/B-2 Visas

 


How long can I stay in the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa?

Validity of a visa relates only to the length of time the holder may travel to the United States and apply for admission. It does not determine the length of time you can stay in the United States. The length of time a visitor is permitted to remain in the United States is determined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service at the port of entry. Each traveller will be permitted to stay in the U.S. for a period of time that is fair and reasonable for the completion of the purpose of the visit.

What activities are covered by the B-1 visa?

The holder of a B-1 visa, or a person travelling for business without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program, may undertake any one of the following activities:

  • Attend business or professional conferences or conventions
  • Consult with business associates
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Purchase goods or materials
  • Appear as a witness in court trials
  • Undertake independent research

Travellers entering the U.S. under the B-1 classification may not perform productive work or accept paid or unpaid employment.

Can I enter the United States on a B-1 visa or visa free under the visa waiver program to set up an office?

The holder of a B-1 visa, or a person who has entered the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program, may survey potential sites in connection with a business venture and/or to lease premises. The holder of a B-1 visa may not remain in the U.S. to manage a business. If the individual is to remain in the United States, the appropriate work (H, or L, or E ) visa is required.

What activities are covered by the B-2 visitor visa?

The holder of a B-2 visa or a person travelling for pleasure without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program, may undertake any one of the following activities:

  • Visit friend/relatives
  • Undergo medical treatment
  • Participate in conventions, conferences or convocations of fraternal or social organizations

My B-1/B-2 visa states that it is indefinite. Is it still valid? What if it is in an expired passport?

In 1995, the U.S. Department of State announced that all indefinite visas would expire on the tenth anniversary of their issuance date. If your B-1/B-2 visa was issued more than ten years ago, it is no longer valid. You will be required to apply for a new visa, or travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, if eligible.

If your visa was issued less than ten years ago, it is valid for travel to the United States for ten years from the date of issuance.

If your visa is contained in an expired passport you may still travel, provided you have a new valid passport of the same nationality.

If your visa is no longer valid and you are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you must apply for a visa. You will be required to furnish both passports when applying for a new visa.

I renewed my passport and a valid U.S. visa is in my old passport. Can you transfer a valid visa in my old passport to the new passport, or do I need to apply for a new visa?

The U.S. Embassy does not transfer a valid visa in an expired passsport to a new passport. A visa is valid until the date of expirery printed on it, even if the passport it is in has expired. You should therefore carry both the old passport conteining the visa along with your new passport when you enter the U.S.

Do I need a return ticket in order to travel with a B-1/B-2 visa?

The holder of a B-1/B-2 visa is not required to hold a return ticket. However, you should carry evidence to show that you have a reason to depart the U.S. at the end of your stay and return to your residence abroad. You should also carry evidence to show that you have funds sufficient for your support while in the United States.

Is there a limit on the number of times I may travel to the United States on a B-2 visa in any given period?

There is no limit as such on how many visits a person may make to the U.S. in any given period. However, a visitor who spends prolonged periods in the United States may have difficulty convincing the immigration inspector that he/she is not an intending immigrant. It is important that you carry with you, for presentation to USCIS, evidence of a residence abroad to which you intend to return at the end of your stay. Individuals who are unable to convince immigration officials that they are bona fide visitors may be denied entry into the U.S.

I am going to the U.S. to attend a conference, but an acceptance/invitation letter from the conference organizer has not received. Can I have an interview?

Yes, you may send a letter later.

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