Guidance on Changing to and Extending B-1/B-2 Status

Posted On: March 20, 2009

When a citizen of another country wishes to travel to the United States for
business or pleasure,
there are specific visas that are available for those individuals. The B-1, Business visa is for those interested in traveling to the U.S. to consult with business associates, to attend conventions/conferences, and to negotiate a contract, etc. In other words, the B-1 visa is intended for those applicants traveling to the U.S. temporarily for business related purposes. The B-2, Pleasure/Visitor/Tourist visa is for those who plan to travel to the U.S. for recreational purposes including tourism, to visit with friends and family, and to obtain medical treatment, etc.

When changing status to B-1 Business visitor, it is important that the applicant document the business activity to be performed, the exact length of time needed to complete the business activity, and the applicant’s intent to depart the United States at that time. This documentation may be established by submitting an itinerary, a brochure of scheduled business events, or evidence of a roundtrip airline ticket, etc. This change of status can only be granted for up to 364 days, so it is extremely important to carefully document the exact length of time needed to complete the activity.

When changing status to B-2 Pleasure visitor, which is also only granted for a period up to one year, it is extremely important to fully explain why a full year should be granted.
Additionally, if an applicant wishes to extend his/her B-1/B-2 status, the extension period is limited to six months. Please note that the maximum of six months will only be granted if the applicant initially requested it on Form I-539.

The Vermont Service Center (VSC) has advised that if the adjudication of the extension petition is taking more than six months, and the beneficiary has not departed the U.S., it is recommended that they interfile a new I-539 prior to the expiration of the beneficiary’s I-94 Arrival/Departure record.

The VSC has also advised that it will approve extensions for a period of less than six months if there is a co-applicant child that will reach the age of twenty-one (21) during the requested time frame. In other words, all applicants will only be extended until the day before the child’s twenty-first birthday.

For more information on B-1/B-2 Status, please contact
our office!