Immigration Issues/B2-Visa, Visa Waiver Programme
QUESTION: I was told by Frankfurt Consulate in Germany that a B2-Visa can have a period of validity up to ten years, but you can only stay in the US for six months at a time. How long do I have to stay in Germany before I could return to the US again?
Same question about concerning Visa Waiver programme: How long do I have to stay in Germany before I could return to the US again?
When entering on B2 visa, the immigration inspector at the port-of-entry in most cases allows entry for 6 months. Entry is never granted for more than six months. Extension of stay can be filed with the USCIS for another six month period without having to depart the U.S.
When entering on visa waiver, entry is automatically granted for exactly 3 months. Extension of stay is not possible by filing an application with the USCIS.
In either case, you cannot "reside" in the U.S. If you enter the U.S. and stay for the full 3 or 6 months and then depart the U.S. for only a few days and then enter again, you could be asked questions by the immigration inspector about where you are staying, the purpose of your visit, if you are employed without authorization in the U.S., etc.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks for the precise answer. The immigration inspector asks me these questions every time I enter the US even after three months in Germany. I used to visit the US up to four times a year, three times for two weeks and once for four weeks. Now I would like to stay (with a B2 Visa) for four or six months, return to Germany for one or two months and then come back again.
Since Oct. 2010 I am married to a LPR, living and working in the US. I contacted you before about cut-off-dates, because he applied for LPR for me too. We learned, that we have to wait up to four years before I can enter the US again. This is not acceptable to us, because we are already 63 and 64 years old. Not much lifetime left! You advised me, that my husband should apply for naturalization, which he will do now. This of course will also take about one year.
First question: Should we withdraw the application for LPR for me now and apply for a B2 visa instead?
During waiting time I would like to visit my husband for four or five months. I do NOT want to work in the US. Just live with him. I have to return to Germany for one or two months, because of family and property anyway.
Second question: Is it possible acting the way I described with a B2 visa while waiting for my husband's naturalization?
There is no right under the immigration laws to visit a spouse who resides in the U.S. In addition, visitor status does not allow for intention to immigrate to the U.S.
If the immigration inspector discovers that your primary intent is to visit with your husband who has sponsored you, then there will be additional scrutiny and you may not be permitted to enter at all. Withdrawing the immigrant petition (I-130) will not be much help, as you are married and your husband resides in the U.S. and therefore you will be considered to have an intent to immigrate to the U.S.
I recommend that your husband file a naturalization application as soon as possible. With the immigrant petition already approved, you can obtain an immigrant visa from a U.S. Consulate in your home country upon approval of the naturalization application. Information about naturalization is here: www.h1b1.com/citizenship.htm