How Long Can a Non-Citizen Stay in the US? | Eatontown, NJ

How Long Can a Non-citizen Stay in the US?

An often-asked question about traveling to the US is, “How long can a non-citizen stay in the US?” Is it determined on your visa issuance date at the US Embassy or Consulate or on the day you reach the United States? What determines the precise date on which you must exit the United States?

Each non-immigrant visa (temporary visa) type has rules about how long a non-citizen can stay in the US. If you are in the United States, whether on a visa or under the Visa Waiver Program, and currently in a predicament that may necessitate extending your stay, you should speak with a New Jersey immigration attorney. An immigration lawyer may be able to help you adjust your immigration status without having to leave the United States.

If you have overstayed your stay in the United States, you should get legal advice before dealing with immigration officials. While an immigration officer is compelled to report a violation of visa rules and initiate removal procedures, an immigration lawyer is bound by strict confidentiality laws that safeguard your private information.

Most immigrants don’t know that there are many ways to get legal status in the United States. Many immigration lawyers aren’t even aware of all the options for obtaining a green card. For this reason, you must contact Andres Mejer, a New Jersey immigration lawyer. Thousands of immigrants in your situation have gotten their green cards with his help. He can discuss how long a non-citizen can stay in the US in detail. Call us immediately so we can schedule an appointment for you.


What are the Different Types of Temporary Visas in the United States?

You must choose a specific purpose for your trip (such as vacationing or going to university) and apply for a specialized visa that enables just that purpose and nothing else. A letter-number combination identifies each type of non-immigrant visa. You’ve probably heard of the more popular ones: B-2 (visitor for tourism), E-2 (investment), F-1 (academic or language student), and H-1B (specialty worker). 

Each category has a specific length of stay in the United States:


B-1 Visa – Business or Medical Treatment Visitor

How long can a non-citizen stay in the US with a B-1 visa? The B-1 visa enables foreign nationals to visit the United States for stays of between one month and one year to perform certain business activities.

Keep in mind that if you are from one of the several countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program and your intended trip is for 90 days or less, you may be eligible to come to the United States without first applying for a B-1 visa.


B-2 Visa – Visiting for Pleasure, Tourism, or Visiting Friends or Family

How long can a non-citizen stay in the US with a B-2 visa? Such a visa is often issued between one month to ten years. The visitor will be allowed to remain in the United States for up to six months per entrance but may apply for an extended stay for an additional six months.

Qualifying for a B-2 tourist visa is not automatic. It is difficult for people from certain countries. It depends on what you want to do during your stay and if you can convince the US consulate officials that you will return home after.


E-2 Visa – Visiting to Invest 

How long can a non-citizen stay in the US with an E2-visa? When E-visa holders (workers or family members) visit the United States, they are granted a stay of up to two years. They may also extend their stay while still in the country.


F-1 Visa – Pursuing Studies in the United States

An F-1 student visa will enable you to pursue academic studies in the United States, whether at an elementary, middle, or high school, college, or higher education. Foreign students on F visas in the United States must leave the country within 60 days of the program’s end date.

The F-1 visa is intended only for academic students. Consider the M-1 visa if you want to pursue a vocational program (such as cooking or technical courses). Remember that not everyone who wants to study in the United States needs an F-1 student visa. If you come as a tourist (on a B-2 visa or under the visa waiver program) and wish to take a class or two for recreation (less than 18 hours per week), that is acceptable. This will not violate your B-2 visitor visa status.


H-1B Visa – Working in a Specialty Occupation

The “H-1B” visa is one of the most popular non-immigrant (temporary) visas that enable holders to work in the United States. It is designed for temporary specialty workers. This visa is prevalent among IT professionals and other occupations. Because of its popularity, the allowed number of available visas runs out every year.

How long can a non-citizen stay in the US with an H-1B visa? The H-1B employee is allowed to work in the United States for up to six years, with a maximum duration of three years respectively. The six-year restriction does not apply if the employee works in the United States for less than six months each year or has met specific milestones in the employment-based green card process.


The Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

How long can a non-citizen stay in the US with the Visa Waiver Program? The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in collaboration with the State Department, allows citizens of participating countries to visit the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without requiring a visa. 

In exchange, those participating countries must allow US citizens and nationals to visit their countries for the same duration without requiring visas for business or tourism purposes.


B-2 Visa versus the Visa Waiver Program

While traveling to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program is often easier than going through a standard visa application, there are some downsides to consider. The duration of stay in the United States is the most crucial consideration.

If you enter the United States on a visa waiver, your stay is limited to 90 days. A B-2 tourist visa, on the other hand, allows you to remain for up to six months. With a B-2 visa, you can apply to extend your stay longer.


Temporary Visa Application Process

The many steps involved in a non-immigrant US visa application, such as a student, H-1B, or tourist visa application, may take a few days to several months. It all depends on the kind of visa you want and if the visa application necessitates advanced steps such as admission to a US school or having a potential employer file a visa application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) successfully.


The Consequences of Overstaying a US Visa or I-94

A person who enters the United States legally from another country often uses a non-immigrant visa. It might be a K-1 visa for a US citizen’s fiancée, an M-1 visa for a vocational program student, or a B-2 visa for a tourist. In every such scenario, the individual will be informed by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official of the date they must exit the United States. The information will be recorded electronically in a form known as an I-94.

But what happens if a visitor remains in the country beyond the allowed date?

  • Overstaying could lead to deportation (removal) proceedings.
  • Overstaying causes visa cancellation and a Consular Shopping Bar.
  • Overstaying bars you from changing status in the United States.
  • Overstaying by 180 days or more results in an Unlawful Presence and Inadmissibility Bar.


Our New Jersey Immigration Attorney Can Help You! 

If you need someone to explain in depth the question, “How long can a non-citizen stay in the US?” our New Jersey immigration attorney at Andres Mejer Law Group is here to help.

Andres Mejer Law in Eatontown, New Jersey, represents clients in immigration law concerns such as green cards, non-immigrant visas, student visas, and deportation. 

Our law firm has helped numerous people, families, businesses, and employers through the complicated world of immigration law. We believe that every one of our clients has the right to prosper in the United States, and we use our understanding of the legal system to ensure your rights are protected. Call Andres Mejer Law immediately to set up an appointment!

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