- Visas – Application Procedures, Validity and Length of Stay
- Passport and Travel Documents
- Miscellaneous – Travel to the United States
- Visa Refusals
- Diplomats, International Organizations and NATO Visas
- Members of the Entertainment Profession and Athletes
- Members of the Media
- Students and Exchange Visitors
- Visa Waiver Program
Who is required to apply for a visa in person?
Do you recognize same-sex marriages?
If your marriage is valid in the jurisdiction (U.S. state or foreign country) where it took place, it is valid for U.S. visa purposes. Therefore, if you are applying for a visa in a category where derivative visa status may be accorded to spouses, you may apply for a visa based on your marriage.
Can partners/common-law spouses apply for derivative visas?
U.S. visa law does not recognize common-law relationships; therefore a partner or fiancée is not eligible to apply for derivative visa status. In such cases, the partner is required to qualify for a visa in his or her own right. Partners who are members of the household of the principal visa holder and whose primary purpose in traveling to the United States is to accompany that person, may apply for a B-2 visa. Partners who intend working or studying require the appropriate work or student visa.
U.S. immigration at the port of entry determines how long a person may remain in the United States. The holder of a B-2 visa may be admitted for an initial period of six months, which is extendable in six month increments. Those wishing to remain longer than six months will be required to apply for an extension of stay with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services having jurisdiction over their place of residence in the U.S.
As your application is based on your relationship to your partner, you are required to furnish evidence of the relationship, for example, a copy of the joint mortgage, rental agreement, bank account etc. We recommend that you apply for the visa at the same time as your partner; if not, you will be required to furnish a copy of the visa endorsed in your partner’s passport in addition to the documents listed above. Please follow this link for further information.
Valid visas in an expired passports.
If the passport containing your visa has expired, you may continue to use the valid visa provided you are traveling for the same purpose as when the visa was issued and you also carry a valid passport of the same nationality.
If, however, the passport authority clipped the corners of the passport when canceling it and, in so doing, damaged the visa in any way, that visa is no longer valid and cannot be used for travel to the United States.
A change of name will not affect the validity of the visa. We recommend that when traveling, you carry a copy of the document showing the name change.
If your visa is marked ‘indefinite’, it can no longer be used for travel to the United States. You are required to either apply for a new visa, or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
Valid B-2 tourist visas and length of stay in the United States
The validity period of your visa relates only to the time in which you may travel to the United States and apply for admission; it does not indicate how long you may remain.
If you are admitted into the United States, the immigration official at the port of entry will advise you on how long you may stay and stamp your passport accordingly.
If, while you are there, you find that you need to stay longer than the period of time initially granted to you, you should contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and apply for an extension of your stay.
The USCIS has sole jurisdiction over such matters.
Holiday homes and length of stay
If you travel to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you may remain for up to 90 days.
This period cannot be extended. If you travel to the United States on a visitor (B-2) visa, the period of time you will be allowed will be determined by the USCIS at the port of entry. Initially they can grant a stay of six months which can be extended for a further six months at their discretion.
The USCIS has sole jurisdiction over such matters.
Is there a set period of time a person is required to remain outside the United States before returning?
There is no set period of time you are required to remain outside the United States before reapplying for admission.
Each time you travel, the immigration authorities at the port of entry needs to be satisfied that the purpose of your trip is for a visit only and that you have a residence outside the United States which you have no intention of abandoning.
Be sure to carry with you evidence of your residence and commitments outside the United States for presentation to the immigration officer.
However, if he or she is not convinced that you are a genuine visitor, you will be denied entry.
Are return tickets required with a valid visa?
No. If you have a valid visa you are not required to be in possession of a round-trip or onward ticket.