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I have a B1 visa issued and I am volunteering for 6 months in America. On the way from England I want to visit Nicaragua for 2 weeks, however all routes to Nicaragua from Europe go through USA.

Can I get either a transit visit or a visa waiver so that my 6 months B1 isn't activated? Or will they stamp it for my actual finish date (6 months and 2 weeks), if I bring evidence of an onward flight booked at the end and evidence of my reemployment in England also?

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Welcome to travel.SE. Can you clarify your question of: Or will they stamp it for my actual finish date? Also you don't have to go through the US to get to Nicaragua and unless you B1 is a single Entry it really should not matter. –  Karlson Sep 26 '13 at 17:47
    
Whats your nationality ? And if you will be volunteering in America, how would you be on your way from England (UK)? –  happybuddha Sep 26 '13 at 18:41
    
There are a few routings that don't pass through the US. (Kayak's "layover airport" filter is useful.) For instance, you can connect at either Amsterdam or Madrid, and then Panama. They may be more expensive, though. –  Nate Eldredge Oct 1 '13 at 3:37
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1 Answer

I think you are misunderstanding how visas and duration of stay work. You having a B1 visa doesn't mean "you cannot be in the United States after 6 months after you first enter the U.S. on this visa", but rather, "on each entry to the U.S. on this visa, you can be given up to 6 months of stay".

How much you are given exactly is up to the whim of the immigration officer when you enter. Even on your first entry, the officer could give you just 1 month of stay if he/she felt like it. Conversely, even if you stay for several months, leave, and soon re-enter the U.S. on that visa, the officer could still give you 6 months of stay. It all depends. There is a tendency that if you've spent a lot of time in the U.S. already in the last year, that they will not give you the full 6 months, since you are not supposed to be residing in the U.S. However, there is no hard and fast rule.

If you are just transferring, which will take 1 day, I don't think it will affect the duration of stay on your future entries.

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