What is a B-1/B-2 visa?
A B-1/B-2 visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to temporarily visit the United States for either business (B-1) or tourism, medical treatment, or short-term visits with friends and family (B-2). These are commonly referred to as “visitor visas.” The B-1 and B-2 visas are often issued together as a B-1/B-2 combination visa, allowing the holder to engage in both business and tourism activities during their stay.
Here’s a breakdown of the B-1 and B-2 visa categories:
- B-1 Visa (Business Visitor Visa):
- The B-1 visa is for individuals who intend to come to the U.S. for temporary business purposes, such as attending meetings, conferences, negotiations, or seeking investment opportunities.
- Common activities under the B-1 visa include consulting with business associates, attending conventions or conferences, conducting research, and participating in short-term training.
- It’s important to note that certain business activities, such as direct employment in the U.S. or engaging in productive work that would normally require a work visa, are not allowed under the B-1 visa.
- B-2 Visa (Tourist Visitor Visa):
- The B-2 visa is designed for individuals who wish to visit the U.S. temporarily for tourism, pleasure, medical treatment, or visiting friends and family.
- Activities allowed under the B-2 visa include sightseeing, visiting relatives, attending social events, receiving medical treatment (including medical tourism), and participating in short recreational courses or programs.
- B-1/B-2 Combination Visa:
- Some applicants may be issued a B-1/B-2 combination visa, which allows for a range of activities encompassing both business and tourist purposes during a single trip to the U.S.
Key Points to Consider:
- The B-1/B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it’s intended for temporary visits and not for establishing permanent residence or working in the U.S.
- Visa holders are generally admitted to the U.S. for a specific period, often up to six months, although the exact duration can vary.
- During the admission process at a U.S. port of entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will determine the length of stay allowed based on the purpose of the visit.
- Applicants must demonstrate their intent to return to their home country after the temporary visit and provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover their stay.
- The application process involves submitting the appropriate forms, documentation, and attending a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
It’s important to understand the specific requirements, restrictions, and application procedures associated with the B-1/B-2 visa category, as they can vary depending on the applicant’s home country and individual circumstances.
How to change status from B-1/B-2 to marriage green card?
Changing status from B-1/B-2 to a marriage-based green card (permanent residency) involves a specific process that requires careful planning and adherence to U.S. immigration regulations. Here’s a general overview of the steps you would need to follow:
- Get Married and Eligibility:
- First, you need to get married to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
- Ensure that your marriage is legally valid and recognized under U.S. immigration laws.
- The U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse must file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf using Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- Include all required documentation and evidence to prove the legitimacy of your marriage and your eligibility for a green card.
- Wait for Approval:
- After the I-130 petition is filed, you must wait for it to be processed and approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Change of Status Application:
- Once the I-130 petition is approved, you can apply to change your status from B-1/B-2 to that of a permanent resident by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- Include all required documentation, such as medical examination results, financial documents, and other supporting evidence.
- Pay the required fees and biometrics appointment, if applicable.
- Adjustment of Status Interview:
- You and your spouse will be required to attend an in-person interview at a USCIS office.
- During the interview, an immigration officer will assess the authenticity of your marriage and review your application.
- Conditional Residence (If Applicable):
- If you have been married for less than two years at the time you are granted a green card, you will receive a conditional green card.
- You will need to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions within the 90-day period before the second anniversary of your green card issuance.
- Permanent Residence and Beyond:
- Once the conditions are removed or if you were initially granted a permanent green card, you can enjoy the rights and privileges of a lawful permanent resident.
Remember that U.S. immigration laws and procedures can be complex and may change over time. It’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or refer to the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the process and required forms. Professional guidance can help ensure a successful application process and navigate potential challenges.
Can I apply for employment authorization while I am waiting for my marriage green card?
Yes, you can apply for employment authorization while you are waiting for your marriage-based green card (adjustment of status) to be processed. The process involves filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, which allows you to obtain a work permit while your green card application is pending.
Here’s how the process generally works:
- File Form I-765:
- You can file Form I-765 along with your Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) or at any time after your I-485 is pending, as long as you have a valid basis for eligibility (e.g., pending family-based adjustment of status application).
- Be sure to complete the form accurately and submit it along with the required supporting documentation and the appropriate filing fee.
- Biometrics Appointment:
- After USCIS receives your Form I-765, they will schedule you for a biometrics appointment, where your fingerprints and photograph will be taken.
- Wait for Processing:
- Once USCIS receives your biometrics and processes your application, they will issue a work permit (Employment Authorization Document or EAD) if you meet the eligibility criteria.
- EAD Approval and Usage:
- If your EAD application is approved, you will receive your work permit in the mail.
- The EAD allows you to work in the U.S. for a specific period of time while your green card application is pending. It is typically valid for one year and can be renewed if needed.
- Working Legally:
- With a valid EAD, you can seek and accept employment in the U.S.
- It’s important to note that the EAD is not tied to a specific employer or job, so you have the flexibility to work for any employer, engage in self-employment, or even change jobs if you wish.
- Green Card Approval:
- Continue to monitor the status of your Form I-485 for updates on your green card application.
- Once your green card is approved, you may no longer need the EAD, as the green card itself provides permanent resident status, which includes the right to work.
Keep in mind that immigration regulations and procedures can change, so it’s recommended to review the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or consult with an experienced immigration attorney for the most up-to-date and accurate information. Applying for an EAD can provide you with the ability to work legally in the U.S. while your green card application is pending, alleviating financial concerns during the waiting period.