B-1 & B-2 Visas


A B visa is one of a category of non-immigrant visas issued by the United States government to foreign citizens seeking entry for a temporary period. The two types of B visa are the B-1 visa, issued to those seeking entry for business purposes, and the B-2 visa, issued to those seeking entry for tourism or other non-business purposes. In practice, the two visa categories are usually combined together and issued as a “B-1/B-2 visa” valid for a temporary visit for either business or pleasure, or a combination of the two.


Periods of stay for B-1 visas may be granted initially for a duration long enough to allow the visitor to conduct their business, up to a maximum of 6 months, and can be extended for another 6 months; B-1 visas are usually granted for three months or less, while B-2 visas are generally granted for six months. Extensions are possible, provided the individual has not violated the conditions of their admission.


USCIS recommend that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, but the USCIS Service Center must receive your application by the day your authorized stay expires.


You may allowed to stay in the US for 240 days after the expiration date on your I-94, provided you have filed for extension of your stay before your I-94 expired and your application is still under review. If USICS receive your application before your status expires (or, in exceptional cases, USICS excuses filing after your status expires due to circumstances beyond your control), and if you have not violated the terms of your status and meet the basic eligibility requirements, then you may continue your previously approved activities in the U.S. (including previously authorized work, for a period of up to 240 days), until USICS makes a decision on your application or until the reason for your requested extension has been accomplished, whichever comes first.


If your request to stay past your initial period of admission was denied by the CIS, the CIS generally allows you 30 days to depart the U.S. starting from the date on the letter notifying you of their decision to deny an extension. If you do not depart within 30 days, you will be considered deportable. The CIS cautions that if you are refused permission to extend your stay, you may encounter problems with Consulates overseas the next time you apply for a U.S. visa because their computer records will indicate that you did not leave the U.S. within the time frame of your initial period of entry. Be sure to keep your rejection letter and proof of the date of your departure (a boarding pass is the best thing, but passport stamps showing entry into another country is also helpful) to give the consulate the next time you apply for a new visa. Having those may mitigate your apparent overstay and could improve your chances of renewing your visa without the five year restriction usually applied to people that have overstayed their visit.