A B1/B2 visa, otherwise known as a US Visitor Visa, is a document that allows travelers to cross the US border for tourism, medical, and business purposes. It cannot be obtained online, but the application form is available for you to fill in on several visa service websites. Very soon, iVisa will launch this service as well. Until then, we wish to keep you informed.
As far as the B1/B2 visa validity goes, we would like to start by telling you not to confuse it with the B1/B2 visa duration. The latter refers to the amount of time you are allowed to stay in the United States on a single entry. The maximum is one year, but that is beyond the point. The B1/B2 visa validity, on the other hand, refers to the amount of time in which the visa is valid, as in how long until you cannot use it anymore. For example, if your B1/B2 visa has a validity of 6 months, you have only 6 months to use it.
The maximum validity for a B1/B2 visa is 10 years, but you should probably know that the period of validity is strictly discretionary. It is up to the consular officer who conducts your interview and reviews your file to decide whether or not you should get the maximum validity. At the same time, according to the US Department of State, all consular officers are advised to offer the maximum available validity, depending on the nationality. That should spare future efforts from the applicant’s parts, as well as from the embassy’s part. Nevertheless, safety issues will always come first, which is why it is very likely for you to receive a B1/B2 visa with a validity of only 6 months.
However, that should not be cause for concern for you. Why? Because if you have never been to the United States before, or anywhere else for that matter, the consular officer will consider that 6 months is more than enough for you to fulfill the purpose of your visit. But if your visa expires, the next time you re-apply, you will get the maximum of 10 years on your visa.
B1/B2 visa validity vs. duration
A common concern that people have is whether the validity of their B1/B2 visa affects the duration of their stay. We are here to clarify that for you. As long as you use the visa in its validity period, it can expire during your stay, and nothing bad would happen. For example, let’s say that your visa expires on June 1st, 2019, but you enter the United States on May 3rd, 2019. You plan to stay there for 3 months. That is entirely legal since you used the visa while it was still valid. Now, if you would exceed the duration of the say, then you would have a problem.
The bottom line is that the B1/B2 visa validity can differ, but that is not necessarily through any fault of your own. As we mentioned before, the decision is discretionary, and you should not take it personally. If you have more questions regarding this issue or anything else related to this topic, you can find information on our blog or even call iVisa’s customer support service. We are here for you 24/7.