1. How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?
A U.S. nonimmigrant visa grants you permission to travel to a Port of Entry (airport/seaport) in the United States. When you arrive at your destination Port of Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who processes your entry will determine the length of time that you may remain in the country. You may travel to the Port of Entry during the validity of your nonimmigrant visa up to and including the last day the visa is valid. The visa duration does not determine the length of time that you may legally remain in the United States—it is important to understand that a one-year visa does not give you the right to spend that length of time in the U.S. You are legally permitted to stay in the United States until the date indicated by the Customs and Border Protection stamp in your passport. However, staying in the United States significantly longer than you indicated at the time of your application can harm your ability to receive a U.S visa in the future.
2. My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?
You can arrive in the United States right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. The Customs and Border Protection officer determines on arrival the duration of your stay in the United States. Your visa can expire while you are still in the United States—just be sure that you do not overstay the period of time the officer grants.
3. My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?
You do not have to wait until your current visa expires. You can apply for a new visa even if your current visa is valid.
4. My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?
You can travel to the United States on the same visa as long as your visa is valid for business or pleasure.
5. My child is applying for his/her first U.S. visa. Can I accompany him/her to the interview?
Yes. Underage children may be accompanied by a parent. Applicants under the age of 16 may bring a parent or official representative with them. All accompanying adults must also sign up for an appointment. This is true even if the accompanying adults are not applying for visas themselves. In order to schedule an appointment, the accompanying adult must send an email message to the Consular Section at Consularashgab@state.gov and request an appointment for the same date and time as the minor they will be accompanying.
6. My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him/her?
No. While you can use your own B-1/B-2 visa to visit your child, you may not live with your child unless you have your own immigrant, work, or student visa.
7. Can I take a part-time class while I am in the United States on a tourist visa?
Generally, you need a student visa to study in the United States. However, if your program of study does not confer a degree, you may take part-time classes—up to 18 hours of instruction per week—while in the U.S. on a tourist (B2) visa. Before your visa interview, ask your school for documentation to demonstrate that your program is permissible on a B2 tourist visa.
8. I want to invite my relatives to visit me in the U.S. Do I need to send them an invitation letter and are there any requirements?
An invitation letter is not a required document for applicants applying for regular business/pleasure (B1/B2) visas; therefore, the Consular Section does not have specific requirements for this type of letter, nor does it assume that the party providing the letter bears responsibility for the actions of the applicant.