If you are a student in the US and want to extend your stay in the country after your studies are complete, then you might be contemplating transitioning from an F1 visa to a B2 visa. In this guide, we will explain the entire process of transitioning from an F1 visa to a B2 visa, including eligibility criteria, common reasons for applying for a B2 visa, and the required documentation.
- The F1 and B2 visas have different purposes, and it is essential to understand the distinctions between them before applying for the transition.
- To be eligible for a B2 visa, you must have a valid reason for your extended stay in the US, and it should also comply with the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security.
- The documentation required for the application process of transitioning from an F1 visa to a B2 visa might differ from person to person, depending on their circumstances.
Now let’s dive into the process of transitioning from an F1 visa to a B2 visa.
Differences Between F1 and B2 Visas
The primary difference between an F1 visa and a B2 visa is their purpose. An F1 visa is issued to students who want to study full-time in the United States, whereas a B2 visa is granted to people who want to visit friends and family or travel across the US.
If you have an F1 visa, then you are expected to return to your home country after completing your studies in the United States. In contrast, a B2 visa provides legal status to individuals who want to extend their stay in the US for personal reasons.
Eligibility Criteria for B2 Visa
If you are contemplating transitioning from an F1 visa to a B2 visa, then you need to meet the eligibility criteria set by the Department of Homeland Security. Here are a few of them:
- You must have a valid reason for your extended stay in the US.
- You must have sufficient funds to support your stay in the US without engaging in unauthorized work activities.
- You must have a valid passport and a clean criminal record in your home country.
- You must comply with the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security.
If you fulfill all these eligibility criteria, then you must follow the necessary steps for applying for a B2 visa.
Common Reasons for Applying for a B2 Visa
When it comes to applying for a B2 visa, most people want to visit their family and friends or go on a vacation. However, here are a few other reasons for which people apply for a B2 visa:
- Obtaining medical treatment in the United States
- Taking part in events, such as conferences, that happen in the country
- Engaging in a one-time business meeting
- Participating in academic activities
- Volunteering for non-profit organizations
Regardless of your reason for applying for a B2 visa, you must ensure that it is valid, as having a baseless reason could lead to visa rejection.
Documentation Required for the Application Process
The documentation required for the application process of transitioning from an F1 visa to a B2 visa might differ from person to person, depending on their circumstances. However, here are a few essential documents that you must prepare:
- A valid passport with a minimum validity of six months
- A properly completed and signed visa application form
- A recent passport-sized photograph
- Proof of your reason to apply for a B2 visa
- Evidence that you will exit the US after your B2 visa expires
- Financial support documentation to show that you can support yourself financially during your stay in the US
- Evidence of your residential accommodations in the US
Q. Can an F1 student get a B2 visa?
Yes, an F1 student can transition to a B2 visa. However, you need to meet the eligibility criteria set by the Department of Homeland Security.
Q. Can I work while on a B2 visa?
No, a B2 visa doesn’t allow you to work in the United States. You can only engage in activities that you mentioned in your visa application form.
Q. Can I extend my B2 visa?
Yes, you can extend your B2 visa by filing a Form I-539 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, you must do it before your current visa expires.
Q. How long does it take to get a B2 visa?
The processing time for a B2 visa varies from person to person. It typically takes around two to six weeks to get a B2 visa. However, it would help if you applied for a B2 visa as early as possible, as the processing time could increase during peak season.