Alagiri Immigration Law Firm

What Can I Do on a B1 B2 Visa?

Many people want to know: what can I do on a B1 B2 visa? If your visa says R-Type B1 B2, we’ve covered how long you can stay here. But other common question are, what can I do on a b1 b2 visa? Can I work? Study? Consult? Read on to learn what sort of activities you can partake in – and which you can’t – on a b1 or b2 visitor visa.

Is it possible to work on short-term consulting projects in the US on a B1/B2 visa?

If you’re coming to the U.S. to perform productive labor, then you would need a work visa like the TN or H-1B visa. If you’re coming simply to meet with clients, obtain information, or other such similar activity, and then will return home to actually perform the work, then you can use the B-1 visa. When you apply for the B-1 visa, you would have to show ties to your home country and be paid in your home country.

If you need to come in for short-term employment, then you can look into applying for the “B-1 in lieu of H-1B” visa, which would permit you to come to the U.S. for a few months as long as you meet the requirements of both the B-1 and H-1B visas. The “B-1 in lieu of H-1B” visa would be an alternative to the TN or H-1B visas.

Can a person on a B-1/B-2 visa to enroll in school in the US?

In general, B-1/B-2 visa holders are not permitted to attend school in the United States. In order to attend school, the B-1/B-2 visa holder must apply for a change of status to either an F-1 (academic student) visa or an M-1 (vocational student) visa.

Some exceptions, however, do exist. B-1/B-2 visa holders may engage in study that is recreational, casual, short-term or avocational in nature. Minor aged children may also be permitted to attend school if accompanying a parent to the U.S. and is only attending school while the parent is pursuing his or her primary reason for the U.S. visit.

If I’m in the U.S. on the B-1 or B-2 visitor visa, can I change status to another visa category or do I have to leave the U.S. to apply?

If you have a B-1 or B2 visitor visa and you want to change visa category, you do not have to leave the US to apply, however it’s best to wait until at least 61 days after entry on the B1 or B2 visa. This is due to what the USCIS “rule” called the 30/60 day rule. When a person enters the U.S. in the B1 or B2 visa category and then files an application for a change of status to another non-immigrant visa category or for an adjustment of status to a green card holder, the way the USCIS evaluates your application depends on when you apply.

If the person makes such an application to change from a B1 or B2 visa to any other visa within 30 days of their first entry into the United States, USCIS will presume the person has acted in bad faith. That means, they USCIS believes that the person already had plans to change visas before they even arrived, rather than legitimately coming as a visitor. This is generally considered to be bad practice and could detrimentally affect your visa change application.

If the application is made between 31-60 days after entry, USCIS will not presume bad faith, but there will be a strong suspicion that the person may have acted in bad faith and the case will be scrutinized carefully. Whenever possible, it’s advised to wait to apply for a status change until having been in the country for at least 60 days. In that case, the USCIS will assume the applicant is acting in good faith and will be more likely to get approved.

If you have any further questions about B1/B2 visas, please feel free to contact us and we can help you out.

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Are You Extraordinary?

EB-1A Visa Masterclass:

By Priya Alagiri, ESQ. Founder, The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm

Friday, February 10, 2023, 12 PM, PST on ZOOM

Join me for Part 2 of my EB-1A “Extraordinary Ability” Visa Masterclass! I will discuss the second step of the two-step analysis that USCIS conducts prior to approving an EB-1A application, called the “final merits determination.”