U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' new policy memorandum on B-2 extensions for cohabiting partners and other household members of principal nonimmigrants does not change eligibility requirements for change of status to B-2, or extension of B-2 status. Rather, it clarifies that such a change and/or one or more extensions are appropriate in the exercise of discretion for household members, including the cohabitating partner of a principal nonimmigrant visa holder, when other eligibility requirements are met. When evaluating an application for change to or extension of B-2 status based on cohabitation, the memo states, the cohabitating partner's relationship to the principal nonimmigrant in another status will be considered a favorable factor in allowing the household member to obtain or remain eligible for B-2 classification. When considering a change of status and/or multiple extensions for the cohabitating partner or other household member, the finite nature of the stay, rather than the duration of the stay or number of extensions sought, is controlling with respect to nonimmigrant intent. For example, the visit should be considered temporary even if the status may be extended several times over several years to match an extended course of study undertaken by the principal. However, while the I-539 (B-2) application must be adjudicated on its own merits, the memo notes, a finding that the principal nonimmigrant lacks nonimmigrant intent is a negative factor in the exercise of discretion.
Read the USCIS Policy Memo in its entirety here.