The VSC recently provided guidance pertaining to changing to and extending B-1/B-2 status. With regard to status changes, the VSC noted that a change of status to B-1, Business Visitor status is considered as an initial grant of the status and therefore can be approved for up to 364 days. The length of stay permitted depends upon the explanation provided to the VSC regarding the nature of the business activities to be performed and the length of time necessary to complete them. The VSC reminded B-1 applicants that they also must document their intent to depart the United States upon completion of such activities. The same adjudication practice would apply to a request for change of status to B-2, pleasure visitor. B-2 applicants must document why a full year of stay is necessary in order to receive B-2 status valid for a full year.
With regard to extensions, the VSC noted that if a B-1/B-2 holder must remain in B-1/B-2 status beyond the initial one-year period, he or she can request an extension of stay of up to six months by filing Form I-539. If the adjudication of such an extension request is taking more than six months, a beneficiary must file another Form I-539 prior to the expiry of his or her I-94. Otherwise, the beneficiary risks accruing unlawful presence if he or she does not depart the U.S.
Additionally, the VSC reminded families requesting changes of status or extensions under B-1/B-2 status that it will grant authorization for a period of less than six months if there is a co-applicant child that will reach the age of 21 during the requested time frame. In this case, the VSC will extend the stay of all family members only until the day before the child’s 21st birthday.