close

How Long Can We Stay in the US with a B1/B2 Visa?

Validity and stay length with these visas can vary, as well as the number of entries to the US permitted.
APPLY FOR USA VISA ONLINE APPLY FOR USA VISA ONLINE

The B1 and B2 visas to the US, also called “visitor visas,” allow travelers to enter the US for business and tourism, respectively. Validity and stay length with these visas can vary, as well as the number of entries to the US permitted. It’s important to understand all these details thoroughly, and we can help. Read on to learn:

  1. What are the parameters of the B1/B2 visa?
  2. What are the differences between B1 and B2? Does one last longer than the other?
  3. Is it possible to get an extension on a B1/B2 visa?
  4. Why do stay/validity lengths vary so much?
  5. Who doesn’t need a B1/B2 visa?
  6. What is ESTA, and how is it different from B1/B2?

1. What are the parameters of the B1/B2 visa?

The validity, stay length, and the number of entries for the B1/B2 visa vary country-by-country, and also case-by-case. Generally, B1 and B2 visas fall within the following parameters:

  • Validity time: Varies between 1 month and 10 years
  • Maximum stay length: Up to 6 months
  • Number of entries: Your B1/B2 visa could be single, double, triple, or multiple entries, depending on the circumstances of your application

Validity means how long the visa remains “active”; in other words, the period of time during which the traveler may enter the United States.

Stay length is the total amount of time the traveler may spend in the US after entry.

The number of entries means how many times the traveler may enter/exit the US on the same visa.

2. What are the differences between B1 and B2? Does one last longer than the other?

Typically, B1 and B2 have similar parameters when it comes to staying length and validity. These two elements generally depend more on the nationality of the traveler and on the decision of American travel authorities than on whether the visa is B1 or B2.

3. Is it possible to get an extension on a B1/B2 visa?

Yes, it is possible to get an extension on a B1/B2 visa. B1/B2 visas may typically be extended up to 6 months. Applications for extension may be made from within the US, and should be made in advance of the expiration of your stay. It is also important that travelers applying for an extension have not violated the terms of admission.

Another important fact to remember is that extensions cannot be made indefinitely. Typically, only 1 extension will be granted for a B1/B2 visa.

4. Why do validity, stay length, and number of entries vary so much?

All decisions regarding the validity, stay length, and the number of entries are made by the travel authorities of the United States based on the circumstances of the traveler’s application. Elements considered include the nationality of the applicant, as well as the applicant’s purpose of travel within the United States.

5. Who doesn’t need a B1/B2 visa?

Many business travelers and tourists actually do not need a B1/B2 visa in order to enter the United States. Instead, travelers from eligible countries are encouraged to apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, also known as ESTA.

You are likely eligible for ESTA if you:

  • Carry a valid passport from one of the countries listed below
  • Plan to travel to the US for 90 days or less
  • Are traveling to the US for purposes of business or tourism

Countries whose citizens are eligible for ESTA:

AndorraHungaryNorway
AustraliaIcelandPoland
AustriaIrelandPortugal
BelgiumItalySan Marino
BruneiJapanSingapore
ChileLatviaSlovakia
Czech RepublicLiechtensteinSlovenia
DenmarkLithuaniaSouth Korea
EstoniaLuxembourgSpain
FinlandMaltaSweden
FranceMonacoSwitzerland
GermanyNetherlandsTaiwan
GreeceNew Zealand United Kingdom

Using ESTA instead of B1/B2 can make travel much easier for travelers whose journeys fall within the parameters listed above.

6. What is ESTA, and how is it different from B1/B2?

The main difference between B1/B2 and ESTA is the application process. Whereas applying for B1/B2 involves traveling to the Embassy for interviews and the submission of paperwork, ESTA can be applied for and obtained over the internet in a much shorter time frame. Fees for ESTA are also significantly lower than for B1/B2.

Besides the application process, ESTA and B1/B2 differ in the following ways:

ESTABothB1/B2
The validity of 2 yearsUsed for business or tourismValidity between 1 month and 10 years
Stay length of up to 90 consecutive daysCannot be used for longer-term purposes such as education or employmentStay length varies, with a maximum of 6 months
Allows multiple entriesThe recipient must leave the US when their visit is completeMay allow single, double, triple, or multiple entries
Digital document (your visa is electronically linked to your passport) Physical document (your visa is marked on your passport)

        
While it’s true that B1/B2 can offer greater flexibility in terms of validity and stay length, those parameters vary by country and by the applicant, and ESTA already fits the needs of many business and tourism travelers.

If you’re eligible, consider getting ESTA next time you visit the US, rather than B1/B2

You’ll enjoy a more streamlined experience. Don’t worry about having to travel to the Embassy – you can apply with Evisa Express from anywhere with an internet connection. Even if you are not eligible for ESTA, we hope that this article has been helpful. Evisa Express: You take care of your trip; we take care of your visa.
 

Bogdan T
13 March 2020
[Total: 1 Average: ]

Related articles