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Old Jan 23rd 2012, 8:39 pm   #1
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Default B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

Hi all, I hope you can help me! I'm here in the USA on a B2 Cohabiting Partner visa, and was given 12 months stay on entry, when we arrived a couple of weeks ago. My boyfriend has a H1B visa.

When I came in the border guard was reluctant to give me 12 months, and was initially just going to give me six, until I asked about the cohabiting bit and that I thought that would allow me to have 12 months, he then gave the 12 months but gave me a lecture about not overstaying, not working, and that I couldn't accompany my partner on this visa forever. He didn't say how long I could accompany him for, but that something would have to change eventually. He also told me to keep a record of all my visit dates, entering and leaving the USA.

So my questions are:

How long can I accompany my partner for on a B2 Cohab visa? The visa issued by the embassy in London is for 3 years, the same as my partner's H1B, and says to accompany H1B visa and my partner's name.

Am I right in thinking that at the end of this 3 years we'll have to return to England and apply to the embassy for new visas, if we wish to stay longer? I assume my partner's employer would have some involvement in that.

I have 12 months entry on my passport from 31 December 2011, if I go home to England to see my family for a couple of weeks in the summer, will I be allowed to come back to the USA, and if so, will I get a new entry date stamp? Or will my original 12 months stamp remain in place?

Would consulting an attourney be a good idea?

Sorry there's so many questions,I really want to do everything right, and I want to be with my boyfriend, I just find it so hard to find out the info I need to reassure myself it'll be ok! Thank you!

Kat
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Old Jan 23rd 2012, 9:15 pm   #2
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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HiHow long can I accompany my partner for on a B2 Cohab visa? The visa issued by the embassy in London is for 3 years, the same as my partner's H1B, and says to accompany H1B visa and my partner's name.
Your visa is valid for 3 years, that means you can travel to the USA using that same visa for 3 years, until it expires. Each time you enter the USA it will be a "new entry" to the USA, but supposedly since you are cohabitating, you are supposed to be able to do this as often as you like...although it may take some convincing the POE agent, as you had to do this time.

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Am I right in thinking that at the end of this 3 years we'll have to return to England and apply to the embassy for new visas, if we wish to stay longer? I assume my partner's employer would have some involvement in that.
Yes. Your partner's employer will be involved in HIS visa renewal...yours will be another B-2 just like you did this time, which you apply for on your own.

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I have 12 months entry on my passport from 31 December 2011, if I go home to England to see my family for a couple of weeks in the summer, will I be allowed to come back to the USA, and if so, will I get a new entry date stamp? Or will my original 12 months stamp remain in place?
Yes, you will be allowed to come back to the USA using your current valid B-2 visa. You will get a new entry date stamp. You might have to convince the POE agent again, as you did this trip.

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Would consulting an attourney be a good idea?
I don't think there's anything an attorney can do for you.

It would be so much easier for you if you were married. You might want to consider that possibility sooner rather than later. If you were married, you'd be able to get an H4 visa, valid for as long as his H1B is valid, and you won't have all these issues at the POE.

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Old Jan 23rd 2012, 9:29 pm   #3
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

Assuming they are not same sex.
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Old Jan 23rd 2012, 9:34 pm   #4
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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Assuming they are not same sex.
OP has a little pink symbol next to their name and mentions having a boyfriend. I'd say 99.9% certain they're not same-sex.
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Old Jan 24th 2012, 1:07 am   #5
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

Thanks so much for your answers, I feel so much better now! Yes we could get married, it's something I have thought about but we've never really got any further than thinking about it. It's comforting to know I can go home and see my family, and still come back though, I didn't want to have to make that choice.

Thanks again, you're a lovely bunch of people on this site.
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 1:11 am   #6
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

OK sorry to resurect this thread but i need more help!! Having just gone to update my address with the USCIS I've looked at my passport and it actually is stamped Jun 30 2012, after all that fuss at the border. Is there any way I can check how long I'm supposed to be here for, or is that stamp it? Could he have made a mistake or was he just flanneling me and decided he'd say whatever and just give me six months. I wish so much I'd checked it at the time, i could have sworn it said december!
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 2:06 am   #7
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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Originally Posted by Zenith Blue View Post
OK sorry to resurect this thread but i need more help!! Having just gone to update my address with the USCIS I've looked at my passport and it actually is stamped Jun 30 2012, after all that fuss at the border. Is there any way I can check how long I'm supposed to be here for, or is that stamp it? Could he have made a mistake or was he just flanneling me and decided he'd say whatever and just give me six months. I wish so much I'd checked it at the time, i could have sworn it said december!
Six months is typical for a B-2 holder, even a co-habitating visa holder. You can apply for an extension from within the USA, if you want.

The POE agent didn't make a mistake.

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Old Feb 10th 2012, 2:06 am   #8
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

It is what the stamp said, obviously did not change it so you can try and go back and get it corrected.
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Old Feb 24th 2012, 7:26 pm   #9
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

Just to update on this, I called the border control office nearest to me to see about whether I could get the stamp reviewed or not, they basically said it's not possible that a mistake was made and the stamp would not be changed. But if I want to I can apply for an extension to stay longer.

To be honest I think I'm just going to bring my return flight forward a couple of weeks and go home to see my family at the end of June. I'll try again to get a 12 month stamp when I come back in August. In the meantime I've got my cv out and am looking for jobs and a H1B visa so hopefully I'll be sorted that way.

Thanks for all your help guys.
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Old Feb 24th 2012, 10:22 pm   #10
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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I called the border control office nearest to me to see about whether I could get the stamp reviewed or not, they basically said it's not possible that a mistake was made and the stamp would not be changed. But if I want to I can apply for an extension to stay longer.
Just so you know, they are not required to tell you the truth. If the person you spoke to doesn't know the law (which happens more often than not), they'll tell you whatever is easiest for them... whether it's true or not.

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Old Feb 25th 2012, 1:26 am   #11
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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Originally Posted by Zenith Blue View Post
Just to update on this, I called the border control office nearest to me to see about whether I could get the stamp reviewed or not, they basically said it's not possible that a mistake was made and the stamp would not be changed. But if I want to I can apply for an extension to stay longer.

To be honest I think I'm just going to bring my return flight forward a couple of weeks and go home to see my family at the end of June. I'll try again to get a 12 month stamp when I come back in August. In the meantime I've got my cv out and am looking for jobs and a H1B visa so hopefully I'll be sorted that way.

Thanks for all your help guys.
My question is not a reflection on the OP, but is it allowed to attempt to obtain work in order to change from the B2 cohabiting visa to an H1B?

I ask since the wife of an H1B visa holder gets the dreaded H4 visa and is never allowed to work. So, being able to get an H1B from a cohabiting B2 seems somewhat unfair to a married trailing spouse.
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Old Feb 25th 2012, 1:54 am   #12
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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Just so you know, they are not required to tell you the truth. If the person you spoke to doesn't know the law (which happens more often than not), they'll tell you whatever is easiest for them... whether it's true or not.

Ian
Yeah, I figured that, frustrating isn't it? But it seems arguing with them isn't going to get me very far, so I'm taking the path of least resistance and all that.

I don't know anything about the H4 visa I'm afraid, but I was of the understanding that I could seek work in the USA, but that I might have to go back to England to apply for the H1B visa. I wasn't aware that a H4 visa holder couldn't apply for a job and get their own H1B visa, that does seem unfair?
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Old Feb 25th 2012, 2:30 am   #13
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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... but is it allowed to attempt to obtain work in order to change from the B2 cohabiting visa to an H1B?
Sure... why not? People change status all the time.


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I ask since the wife of an H1B visa holder...
You mean "spouse", right?


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... So, being able to get an H1B from a cohabiting B2 seems somewhat unfair to a married trailing spouse.
Her partner also has an H-1B, so I'm not exactly sure what your point is.

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Old Feb 25th 2012, 2:34 am   #14
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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I wasn't aware that a H4 visa holder couldn't apply for a job and get their own H1B visa, that does seem unfair?
You've received incorrect information. An H-4 visa holder can certainly seek and obtain an H-1B visa on their own. It's quite common for both partners (or spouses) to each have their own H-1B visa. The only reason a spouse/partner would get an H-4 is because they don't have any other visa!

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Old Feb 25th 2012, 2:46 am   #15
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Default Re: B2 Cohabiting Partner visa - questions

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You've received incorrect information. An H-4 visa holder can certainly seek and obtain an H-1B visa on their own. It's quite common for both partners (or spouses) to each have their own H-1B visa. The only reason a spouse/partner would get an H-4 is because they don't have any other visa!

Ian
Ah ok, thanks for clearing that up. SanDiegogirl, it maybe worth pointing out that I still have to meet all the criteria for the H1B myself, I get no special treatment for being a cohabiting B2.
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