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May 28, 2004
Visa Focus: US B1/B2 Visa
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B1 is the "Visitor for Business" visa while B2 is the "Visitor for Pleasure" visa. Since visitors for business usually take time off for pleasure, these two visas are normally issued jointly. The following are allowed under these visa schemes:

 

  • Conduct Negotiations
  • Solicit sales or investment
  • Discuss planned investment or purchases.
  • Make investments or purchases
  • Attend Meetings, and participate in them fully.
  • Interview and hire staff.
  • Conduct research. You MAY NOT do the following, as they require a working visa:
  • Running a business.
  • "Gainful employment".
  • Payment by an organization within the US.
  • Participating as a professional in entertainment or sporting events. Visitors under the
  •  

    B1/B2 visa program are normally granted 6 months stay in the US. It may be extended up to a year. Depending on the circumstances, you may be given only 3 months of stay.

     

    Note: You should always apply for your B1/B2 visa from your own home country. If you apply from a different country, you application will most likely get rejected. Embassy officials screen applicants based on their economic and social ties to their home country. This means that they prefer giving away visitor visas to applicants whom they feel will most likely return to their country of origin and not become illegal immigrants. Officals are also wary of giving away 10-year multiple entry visas. Most applicants will only be allowed the 3-month or less visa scheme, wherein if you fail to travel to the US within 3 months, you'll need to re-apply again for the said visa. Family units applying as a whole generally get favorable responses from Embassy staff compared to individuals. This is because a family travelling together is construed to be taking a vacation, and will most likely return home.

    Visa Extension

    Extension of stay in the US may be granted depending on the reason you supply. (i.e. I want to visit the east coast and see the statue of liberty... ) You should only apply for an extension 4-6 weeks prior to the expiration of your I-94.

     

    • Don't apply for an extension the first day you arrive, as this will be very suspicious. I-94 form is the tiny paper that you fill up upon arrival. It is stamped with your expected departure date by the immigration officer. Exceeding the date stamped in your I-94 is illegal.
    • You should file for your extension with Form I-539 at the nearest Immigration center. Also attach the reason you want to stay longer, copies of your return ticket, and your I-94.
    • Never send your original I-94 as you need this upon departure.
    • The fee to apply for an extension is $140 for the moment. This fee can be for an individual or a family unit travelling as a whole. To download Form I-539 (Application for Extend/Change Non-immigrant status) click here If you need Adobe Acrobat to read the file, click here

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