A B-2 visa allows a legitimate temporary visit for pleasure. Since the B-2 visa includes various activities, an individual entering on a B-2 visa is able to visit with friends or relatives, attend non-business related meetings, or receive medical treatment. Like a B-1 visa, it is unlawful to be employed or to attend school while in the U.S. under the B-2 visa.

An individual can apply for a B-2 visa at the U.S. consulate with documentation demonstrating the purpose of the trip. People from countries qualifying for the Visa Waiver Program may need to demonstrate why their stay will exceed more than 90 days permitted under the Visa Waiver program. Applicants must show strong ties such as employment, family, and social ties to their country of residence with supporting documents, demonstrating their intention to depart at expiration of requested stay. Generally, B-1 and B-2 visas are issued together at the U.S. consulate. However, upon entry to the U.S. the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) officer will determine whether an individual receives a B-1 or B-2 visa.

A visitor entering with B-2 status usually receives a stay of up to six months upon entry to the U.S. The CBP officer will record the length of stay on the visitor’s I-94 card. However, if a visitor’s intention seems suspicious, the officer may grant only one to three months of stay. Failure to leave or failure to extend before expiration of the permitted stay may result in overstay in the U.S. which can be a disadvantage to future re-entry.

To apply for an extension of stay, a B-2 visa holder must submit the request for an extension to the USCIS before the date on the I-94 card has passed. Usually, six additional months of stay is granted. Under special circumstances, a further extension may be granted.

Non-immigrant visa holders may request change of their visa status to another non-immigrant or immigrant status while staying in the U.S. However, the applicant of B visa status must be cautious about requesting the change too soon after the entry to the U.S. since it reflects the applicant’s pre-conceived intent. It is advised to change the status at least after 90 days of entry.