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B Visitor Visas
B-1 Visa And B-2 Visa
B visas are for visitors. Although many visitors do not need a visa stamp, the B visa is for all people from countries not included in the Visa Waiver Program, and for visitors from the 38 VWP countries who have a legitimate need to stay for longer than 90 days, and for visitors ineligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program due to a past overstay, other immigration violation, or a criminal violation for which they have obtained a waiver.
There are two types of B visas: B-1 business visitors (not for employment in the U.S.), and B-2 visitors for pleasure. All visitors, whether entering on B visas or without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program, are presumed to have immigrant intent. This means Consular officers who conduct visa interviews at a US Embassy, and also Inspections officers of US Customs & Border Protection at US airports and border ports, start with a presumption that every traveler intends to remain in the United States indefinitely. It is the traveler’s responsibility to convince them otherwise.
All visitors must prove to U.S. authorities at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when applying for a visa, and again to U.S. Customs & Border Protection inspecting officer at a port of entry, on each and every trip to the United States, that they do not intend to remain in the U.S. indefinitely, that they do not plan to work or study here, that they have sufficient funds to cover the cost of their finite & temporary trip, and that they have an unabandoned permanent home abroad to which they intend to return. Visitors may be asked to show proof that they have sufficiently strong family ties, property, job and financial ties to their home country to demonstrate a likelihood that they will indeed return to that country after a short visit. Visitors without a visa, traveling with only an ESTA document under the Visa Waiver Program explicitly waive the right to extend their stay or seek to change status in the U.S., as well as the right to appear before an immigration judge.
Visitors with 5-year or 10-year B visas may be admitted for a maximum stay of 6 months, but visitors entering under the VWP without a visa may be admitted for a maximum of 90 days. Under recent changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual, this makes any change of plans challenging for VWP visitors, as all visitors may be presumed to have misrepresented their intentions at the time of admission if they take any action indicating a change of plans less than 90 days after entry.
Have more questions about B visitor visas or visiting under the Visa Waiver Program? Contact Karin Wolman for a consultation today!