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B1/B2 Visas


B1/B2 VISAS are visas for temporary visitors issued pursuant to INA §101(A)(15)(B); 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(15)(B); 22 C.F.R. §41.31; 9 FAM 41.31.

Time Limitation on B visa holders. B visa holders may be admitted for up to one year with extension of 6 months. 8 C.F.R. §214.2(b)(1). B-2 given automatic 6 months. 8 C.F.R. §214.2(b)(2). The fact that someone may be staying in the U.S. for an extended period of time is not a bar to B-2 classification as long as the consular officer is satisfied that there is a time limitation and no intent to remain permanently. 9 FAM 41.31 N.3.1. Once admission is determined to be "fair and reasonable" the 6-month admission period should be granted. O.I. §214.2(b). However, an applicant cannot use a temporary visa as a means to create permanent residency by leaving and returning every 6 months. Mwongera v. INS, 187 F.3d 323, 328 (3d Cir. 1999) [person's stay was not temporary and B-1 status was violated because he "set no definite goals and made no plans to accomplish those goals"]; Matter of Lawrence, 15 I&N Dec. 418, 420 (BIA 1975).


B1 visas generally are issued to persons engaging in commercial transactions not involving gainful employment, e.g., negotiating contracts, litigation, consulting with clients or business associates. It is not gainful employment if visitor is "making phone calls, giving employees instructions or taking clients to their cars." See Garavito v. INS, 901 F.2d 173, 175 (1st Cir. 1990) [reversing denial of C/S from B-1 to E-2 on grounds that B-1 was unlawfully employed].

However, where business activity almost exclusively involved full-time management of a U.S. enterprise, B-1 not valid. See Matter of Lawrence, 15 I&N Dec. 418, 420 (BIA 1975).

B1 visas are also issued to persons participating in scientific, educational, professional, religious or business conventions. A person may receive an honorarium and incidental expenses for "usual academic activity" from an academic institution as long as it does not last more than 9 days at a single academic institution and the foreign national has not accepted more than 5 such honoraria in a 6-month period. INA §212(q), 8 U.S.C. §1182(q).


B-2 visas are issued to Visitors for Pleasure. Pleasure Defined as "[l]egitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment and activities of a fraternal, social or service nature." 22 C.F.R. §41.31(b)(2). Employment not permitted even where only remuneration is room, board and pocket change. See Matter of Hall, 18 I&N Dec. 203 (BIA 1982).

B-2 Visas are issued to persons who are: Tourist(s),Social visitors to friends/relatives, visitors for health purposes, Participant(s) in conventions of social organizations, Participant(s) in amateur musical, sports or similar events with no remuneration, Dependant(s) of U.S. Armed Forces personnel, Accompanying D or B-1 aliens, Coming to U.S. to marry United State Citizens but will depart, Coming to U.S. to marry nonimmigrant.

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To schedule an appointment with Los Angeles visa attorney Artem M. Sarian, contact Sarian Law Group, APLC. We have offices in Glendale and Los Angeles, California, to serve you.

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