Applying for a B1/B2 visa – how long can I stay?

Applying for a B1/B2 visa – how long can I stay?

iVisa | Updated on Mar 08, 2022

IWe are improving our B1/B2 application process to make sure it is up to date with current US visa policy. We will make this product available again soon. In the mean time, below you will find useful information to keep in mind for your US visa application.

If you plan to travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes, then you need to apply for a B1/B2 visa. The document cannot be obtained online, but the DS-160, the application form, can be filled in using an online visa service. iVisa will launch that service shortly.


If you are wondering how long you can stay in the US on a B1/B2 visa, we cannot give you an exact answer. That is because the embassy determines the duration of your stay. However, the overall maximum length of stay granted to most applicants is 1 year on a single entry. It means that if you cross the US border, you are not allowed to stay for longer than that. Otherwise, you can get deported and even banned from entering the United States in the future.

What if I need to stay for longer?

In case something comes up, and you need to spend more time in the United States, you can apply for an extension. It is not a challenging process, but you need to prepare thoroughly.

  • The first thing you must do is provide a legitimate reason as to why you need to stay longer than you initially intended. It would be best if you can provide evidence, supporting documents that confirm your situation. Anything will do. Your business meetings will run longer than expected (if you travel for business), your medical treatment got extended (if you travel for medical purposes), or if one of the relatives you are visiting got sick and you need to help out (if you are visiting friends or relatives). The point is that the reason for your visa’s extension must be valid, and you need to prove it.

  • For your information, you can change the status of your visa if you think it is necessary. You can change it from a short-term visa to a long-term visa. Of course, you can try. It does not necessarily mean you will succeed. The truth is that changing the status of your visa is again, discretionary, and you may not make it.

  • If changing the status of your B1/B2 visa is what you want, and you want to change it to a visa that allows you to stay in the United States for longer, you need to notify the officials at the embassy during your interview when you first apply. But if you do not know this from the start, you need to prove that you had no intention to change your status and that the reason why this happens has occurred while you were already in the US. It is a difficult fact to prove, but not impossible.

What you need to remember is that depending on which precise type of visa you apply for, B1 or B2, you cannot stay in the United States for longer than one year. Of course, that is only if you do not manage to change the status of your visa. If you succeed, however, you can stay long-term, depending on the new status of your visa.

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