Immigration

How Many Times Can You Visit the USA on Visit Visa

How Many Times Can You Visit the USA on Visit Visa

So, you have a visit visa to the US (B1/B2) and you want to visit it as many as often. Is it really possible? Let’s find out.

I’ve visited the US multiple times on visit visa (before I got my H1B visa) and I can say that if you do it the right way, things can be very smooth at immigration. But if you take it easy and don’t plan well, it could arise to misunderstandings.

What does the B1/B2 visit visa allow you to do?

The B1/B2 is a tourist/business trip visa. Which means that you can visit USA for business or pleasure trips on short visits. Usually, the B1/B2 visit visa is given for 10 to 15 years of time. And you can visit USA during those 10 or 15 years whenever you want, as long as your passport is valid. But on each visit, the immigration officer will do a short interview (at the port of entry) and allow you to stay in the USA for a specific period of time.

It usually is given maximum for about 6 months, but it can vary on the purpose of your visit. This date is either stamped on your passport or on what is called the I94 form. It would have the date on a seal. You are supposed to leave USA on or before that date. If you stay beyond that date, you will be overstaying and immediately becomes illegal.

If for any reason you are not able to make it back to your country, you are supposed to let the authorities know.

How long can you stay in the US on a visit visa?

Most visit visas are granted for a maximum of six months stay. So, provided you have a valid passport, you can stay the full six months.

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However, please note that on each visit, the immigration officer at the port of entry (the Airport you landed) interviews you and based on your intended purpose of travel (business or pleasure or both) stamps a stipulated time for you to leave the country (stamped on your I94 document).

You are supposed to leave the country on or before that date. It necessarily needn’t be for six months and could be shorter in some cases, depending on your purpose of visit.

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What happens if you overstay your visa?

If you stay longer that the stipulated time mentioned on your I94, you would be overstaying in the US illegally and is immediately categorized as illegal immigrant.

You should in all possibilities avoid overstaying and if at all happens to do so, immediately let the authorities know. Call up your country’s consulate and let them know that you are overstaying and need help.

When can you revisit USA after an initial visit?

So, you just left USA after a short visit and now you want to come back immediately. Is it possible?

Well, technically you can visit whenever you want during your visa period (the ten or fifteen years you’re granted). So, let’s say you visited the USA in January of 2017 and returned to your home country in June 2017.

You’ve used your full six months of allowed visit (provided you were granted all six months by the officer on your I94). Now if you return the very next month (July 2017), you should be ok to enter back.

However, please note that such frequent visits will be looked at with suspicion. Reason? B1/B2s are visas allowed for pleasure/business trips which usually are short visits. If you’re returning back to back, it is unusual and might mean that you’re probably doing something more than pleasure trips.

You will be asked for your reason to visit US on each trip at the port of entry (Airport you are landing at) and if your reason is not satisfactory to the officer, they have the rights to send you back to your home country. (Source)

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P.S – I’m not an attorney or none of the above is legal advice.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments and I’ll try best to answer them. All the best!

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Mani Karthik

In my pursuit of happiness, I share everything I've learned, on this blog. From productivity to spirituality and everything in between. I quit my cozy job in the USA to pursue my passion - blogging. Today, I make five times what my US job paid. More than the money, I love the freedom it gives me to make my own choices. Come join me. Start blogging! :) WhatsApp : +0014084894785

18 Comments

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  • Hi Mani,

    Thank you very much for the information and time you have given so far.

    My parents and sister stay in USA holding GC and citizenship respectively. I got study permit of Canada, session starting in May 2020 and going to Canada with my kid (5 years). We both have valid tourist visa . Before landing Canada, I have plan to visit my relatives in US in March and then we all will be going to Canada in mid-April.

    Now,the query is:
    As the schools are till June and the holidays begins from mid of June, am planning to keep my kid with my parents and sister . So can she enter USA in 1.5 months again and stay there till September and return to Canada for next session? Will the officer at port of entry allow her to stay for 3 months more after re-entering in short interval.

    Request you to please share your valuable views on this.
    Thanks

  • I was issued a tourist visa for ten years from India which expires in June 2020. When can I reapply for renewal? Please advise.

  • I have been issued of 6 month stay as tourist but unfortunately only 2 months I stay I arrive March 9, 2019 and going home May 17, 2019 due to my mother die now I planning to get back in US on August this year again. Ca i allowed too.

  • Hi, thanks for the informative article! I am wondering… I have been to the US twice last year (both for tourist purposes), once for three weeks, and another time for just three days. So the last time I traveled there was in November 2018. Currently, I have spontaneous plans to go to the US 2 more times, also, for short visits to two different cities. So I would like to make a short trip of 4 days in April, and have already planned a 10 days trip for May. I am wondering, will I have any problems with these arrangements, or should I skip my spontaneous trip in April, not to risk a bit longer trip in May?.. Thanks in advance for any tips!

    • I don’t think just frequency alone will flag you. What might be more important is the purpose of your visit. As long as you have genuine intentions that you can explain to the officers, you should be good.

  • Hi , i have applied for i 30 petition last april and my phase 1 is approved already, im expecting my interview to be around this april, i got b1 b2 visa last year to visit my husband for honeymoon , they gave me 5 year multiple with6 months at a time, i stayed for 4 months came bak to my home country for a month now i plan to go back for 1.5 month before my interview date so that i can spend more time with my husband, will i be in trouble if i do so? Reading online about so much stuff is scaring me , can i be denied

    • You stayed in India for 1.5 months before returning. That is unusual so you can expect them to ask you a lot of questions. If you don’t have any issues answering, it should be ok. But yes, too frequent trips will raise eyebrows at immigration. So be prepared to face them.

      • Thanks for the help, i have no questions in answering but my main concern is if they would deny me entry because i dont want to spend my anniversary away from my husband after traveling for 23 hrs

  • hi,

    My parents stayed in USA for 5 months. After gap of 3 months they again wanted to visit.
    will there be any problem under B2 visa?
    also, max 6 months are applicable for each visit? or is there any restriction to travel within a year span?

    Is return ticket is mandatory?

    • Hi Vicky,

      It depends on their purpose of visit. Technically they can visit anytime they want as long as they have a minimum of 6 months validity on their passport. But if you have frequent visits, the immigration officers will see it as abnormal and can ask questions + deny entry. What is their purpose of the visit? If they are required to stay with you longer, it might be a better idea to think of immigrating them. And max 6 months of visit is usually the case, but it is decided by the immigration officer, who after the interview at the airport, staps the exit date on the i94. You are supposed to exit the country before on or that date. And there are no restrictions to travel within a year if you have genuine reasons. Return ticket is not mandatory but sometimes they see it as a guarantee for you to not get stuck and remain back as illegal visitors.

  • As per you example, suppose my parents visit me on January 2017 to June 2017 and then again come back in July 2017 is that possible?
    If they say that the reason for their visit is to visit me and do tour will it be OK?

    • It should be OK, technically. However, it’ll depend on how well they can convince the immigration officers at port of entry. They will be asked some hard questions. That’s all.

  • I visited US in August 2018-and on arrival I got stamped for one year I am on B1/B2 visa.. I was there to meet my nephew… I stayed in US till 2018 November so basically 3 months. Can I go back to US on same immigration stamp? Can I go back to US in 2 months time? Or do I need to do the cooling of period for 6 months

  • I have a friend and Ecuador and she is coming to visit family in November for Thanksgiving but she also wants to come back and visit me for the Christmas holidays she is only going to be here 5 to 6 days in November and she wants to return to the US for five or six more days in December to visit me for the Christmas holidays is this possible? Before we purchased the ticket for the plane?

    • Yes, that is totally possible Paul. In each visit visa you get multiple entries possible up until the visa is expired (or 6 months prior to that). As long as the visit intent is genuine (in your case it is), there is no issue going back and forth on multiple visits. All the best.

  • thanks for information. but let me know on which basis, immigration office provide the leaving date? if it is I94 form, then we can fill that as per we want….if someone has return ticket just two weeks after but he can mention the departure date three weeks after arrival…. is it possible or immigration officer asks return ticket too?

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