Specific Activities Eligible for B-2 Visa Category

August 17th, 2010 by Brian D. Zuccaro

1. Specific Activities Eligible for B-2 Visa Category

  • Individuals who wish to enter the United States temporarily for pleasure may be classifiable as B-2 Visa visitors provided they meet the criteria listed below.
  • Tourism or Family Visits: individuals traveling to the United States for purposes of tourism or to make social visits to relative or friends.
  • Medical Reasons: individuals coming to the United States for health purposes.
  • Participation in Social Events: individuals participating in conventions, conferences, or convocation of fraternal, social or service organizations.
  • Armed Forces Dependents: Dependents of foreign members of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces temporarily assigned for duty in the United States.
  • Dependents of Crewmen: foreign dependents of category D- Visa crewmen who are coming to the United States solely for the purpose of accompanying the D-Visa holder.
  • Short Course of Study: individuals coming to the United States primarily for tourism, who also incidentally will engage in a short course of study during their visit. B-2 Visa visitors should have the following annotation placed on their visa: “STUDY INCIDENTAL TO VISIT–Form I-20 NOT REQUIRED.”
  • Amateur Entertainers and Athletes: an amateur (or group of amateurs) who will not be paid for performances and will perform in a social and/or charitable context or as a competitor in a talent show, contest or athletic event is eligible for B-2 visa classification, even if reimbursed for incidental expenses. An amateur is someone who normally performs without remuneration (other than an allotment for expenses). A performer who is normally compensated for performing cannot qualify for a B-2 visa.

2. B-2 Visa Visitors under Special Circumstances

The following classes of individuals may be classified as B-2 Visa visitors under the following special circumstances:

Fiancée of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents

    • Generally, an individual may come to the United States to marry a U.S. citizen under the K-1 nonimmigrant visa classification.
    • However, the fiancée of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may, be classified as a B-2 Visa visitor if the fiancée intends to return to a foreign residence soon after the marriage.
    • A B-2 visa may also be issued to an individual coming to the United States: (a) simply to meet the family of his or her fiancée; (b) to become engaged; (c) to make arrangements for the wedding; or (d) to renew a relationship with the prospective spouse.

Fiancée of Certain Non-immigrants in United States

    • Fiancées who have a residence abroad to which they intend to return, and who are otherwise qualified to receive a visa, are eligible for B-2 visas if the purpose of the U.S. visit is to marry a non-immigrant in valid F, H, J, L M, O, P or Q visa status.
    • The fiancée should apply soon after the marriage to the nearest office of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to request a change in non-immigrant status to that of the alien spouse.

Proxy Marriage.

    • A proxy marriage is one where either the bride or the groom is not physically present for the wedding. During the solemnization of the marriage, based upon a power of attorney, an agent acts on behalf of one of the parties.
    • A person married by proxy to a non-immigrant in the United States may be issued a B-2 visitor visa in order to join the non-immigrant in the United States.
    • Upon arrival in the United States, the joining spouse must apply to the Department of Homeland Security for permission to change to the appropriate derivative non-immigrant status after consummation of the marriage.

Spouse or Child of U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.

    •  A foreign spouse or child, including an adopted child, of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may be classified as a B-2 Visa visitor if the purpose of the travel is to accompany or follow to join the spouse or parent for a temporary visit.

Cohabitating Partners, Extended Family Members, and Other Household Members not Eligible for Derivative Status.

    • Members of the household of another nonimmigrant, who are not eligible for derivative status, may apply for a B-2 Visitor Visa.
    • Individuals eligible in such a case include cohabitating partners or elderly parents of temporary workers, students, diplomats posted to the United States, etc.
    • A B-2 Visa may also be accorded to a spouse or child who qualifies for derivative status, but for whom it may be inconvenient or impossible to apply for the proper H-4, L-2, F-2 or other derivative visa.
    • If such individuals plan to stay in the United States for more than six months, they should be advised to ask the Department of Homeland Security for a one-year stay at the time they apply for admission.
    • If needed, they may apply for extensions of stay, in increments of up to six months, for the duration of the principal nonimmigrant’s status in the United States.

Individuals Seeking Naturalization under Immigration and Nationality Act § 329.

In order to facilitate the naturalization under INA § 329, a B-2 visa may be issued to the adopted child of a U.S. citizen who resides abroad and does not intend to reside permanently in the United States.

    • Issuance of B-2 Visa for Expeditious Naturalization of a Child under INA § 322.
    • INA § 322 provides for the naturalization of a child born outside of the United States.
    • A B-2 visa may be issued to a foreign-born child to facilitate that child’s expeditious naturalization pursuant to INA § 322.

However, the child must intend to return to a residence abroad after naturalization.

Dependents of Members of U.S. Armed Forces Eligible for Naturalization under INA § 328.

INA § 328 provides for the naturalization of foreign individuals who have served honorably at any time in the Armed Forces of the United States for a period or periods aggregating one year. There is no physical residence requirement under this section.

Dependents of foreign members of the U.S. Armed Forces who qualify for naturalization under INA § 328 and whose primary intent is to accompany the spouse or parent on the service member’s assignment to the United States may apply for a B-2 Visitor Visa.

Foreign Students Enrolled in a Vocational or Recreational School.

    • A foreign student enrolled in such a school as B-2 Visa Visitor if the purpose of attendance is recreational or vocational.
    • When the nature of a school’s program is difficult to determine, an F-1 Student Visa may be more appropriate.

Prospective F-1 Visa Students.

      • A prospective F-1 Visa student may enter the U.S. under the B-2 Visa classification to select a school, interview, take entrance examinations, or for registration purposes.
      • If a student is undecided about which school he or she will attend, a B-2 visa may be issued with a notiation reading “Prospective Student School Not Yet Selected.”
      • If a prospective student is entering the U.S. for an admission interview or entrance examination a B-2 visa may be issued with the following notation: “Prospective Student Admission Interview” or “Prospective Student School Entrance Examination.”

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