Deciding to pursue a B1 or B2 visa is an important decision. KPPB Law offers consultations so that you can understand your options before moving forward. Below you will find a list of common question about B visas that will help prepare you for the process.
If I’m in the United States on a B Visa, am I allowed to look for a job?
No. Whether you have a B-1 or a B-2 visa, you will not be able to work in the United States except on the rarest of occasions for B-1 visa holders. For example, if an American company hires you to work with a foreign company within a certain time period, or if, also within a certain time, an American business needs an employee of an international company to carry out a special project while in the United States, you may be qualified to seek exemption from this rule. If you are authorized to seek employment under these terms, the United States Embassy will provide you with a B-1 visa that specifically authorizes you to work in the States.
Is the Visa Waiver Program applicable to B visas?
Known simply as VWP, the Visa Waiver program of the American government gives residents of certain countries permission to enter the States without a visa for up to 90 days if they are in transit to another country, traveling on business, or simply wish to vacation as a tourist. If you are not on the approved list of countries, however, you must apply for a visa, even if your agenda is one of tourism, business, or travel.
Can I enroll in school or any academic course if I’m a B-1 or B-2 visa holder?
Since the specifications of the B-1 and B-2 visas are for those looking to come to the United States for travel, tourism, or business, these visas do not allow you to enroll in school or a university. If, however, you have the intention of taking a course or class that could be completed in less than 90 days, if there is no credit given by a home institution and if the course takes less than 18 hours per week. If your program exceeds any of these specifications, you should apply for a student visa.
What is the maximum amount of time I can stay in the United States with a B-1 or B-2 visa?
Depending on your country of origin, you could be allowed to remain in the states between three and six months. Your length of stay is not determined by the consulate which issued your visa, but instead by the United States Customs and Border Protection (the CBP), a subset of the Department of Homeland Security that meets you at your point of entry into America.
When entering the country, an immigration official will examine your visa and documentation and will decide the legal length of your stay. If you are entering the country for business purposes, you may still remain no longer than six months, and if the project takes longer, you may need to apply for an extension. The six-month maximum also applies to tourists.
If you do not leave the States when your legal stay has ended, accept a job in the United States, violate American laws or the rules of your stay, you could be placed under arrest and deported, potentially barring you from entering the United States again.
My passport expired, but the visa inside my old passport is still valid. If I’m applying for a new passport, do I also have to apply for a new visa, or can I keep the original?
You do not need to apply for a new visa when you apply for a new passport as long as the visa is valid. When traveling, be sure to bring both the old passport with the valid visa in it and the new passport. When you are approved for entry into the United States at the border control, an immigration official will examine all your travel documents as well as both the old and the new passports. If he finds them acceptable, he will stamp the new passport with a “VIOPP” (visa in the other passport) sign and you will be admitted into the United States.