I am waiting for my K1 visa as I'm engaged to a US citizen. I currently have 145 days spent this year in the US using ESTA. I've been told that the K1 visa application may not be granted until end of November. We will be in Europe for 2 weeks at the end of September. Can I apply for a B visa and start a new clock in terms of days already spent here? I am a consultant and can work on my projects in Europe whilst here. I also am involved in a real estate project in Chicago that will require I spend some time here so maybe the B1 would be most appropriate?

  • Are you in the US now? If not, what is the significance of your trip to Europe? If so, why are you applying for a K-1 visa?
    – phoog
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:33
  • I got engaged earlier this year and made the K1 application on 22 June. I'm currently in the US. I'm travelling on business to Europe and to return home for a while.
    – user67547
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:35
  • At what consulate did you submit the K-1 application?
    – phoog
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:37
  • The K1 unit in Texas as per the website...
    – user67547
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:40
  • I'm from Ireland so ultimately I will interview in Dublin...
    – user67547
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:41

There's no clock, and the US has no 90/180 rule. For VWP travelers, the rule is 90 days per visit, and for B visa travelers, the rule is six months per visit. Getting a B visa is not necessary.

Your more likely problem is overcoming the statutory presumption of immigrant intent, given your pending K-1 application. This applies to both VWP travelers and those with B visas, so getting a B visa won't help you there. It's also unclear to me whether you are allowed to apply for another nonimmigrant visa while the dual-intent K-1 application is pending.

  • I understood there was a 180 day rule for ESTA in any given calendar year?
    – user67547
    Sep 5 '17 at 15:36
  • @user67547 you understand incorrectly. The limitation is 90 days per visit. If you spend enough time in the US, you'll run up against CBP's discretionary authority to determine that you've been spending too much time in the country, but there's no explicit limit to the number of days you may spend in the country. CBP has asserted a "rule of thumb" that boils down to spending no more than half your time in the US, but that wouldn't be appreciably different for someone with a B visa.
    – phoog
    Sep 5 '17 at 17:06
  • @user67547 furthermore, ESTA is just the registration that allows you to get on the plane. When you are admitted to the US, having flown there using ESTA, you are admitted under the terms of the VWP, and it is those terms that govern your stay. If you've been searching for information about the rules, this might explain why you haven't found it.
    – phoog
    Sep 5 '17 at 17:10

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