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. 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.
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)
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!