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Today I arrived at Newark Airport with a new passport and a new B1/B2 visa. I came before many times to the US and always stayed 6-10 weeks on my ESTA visa. But since I have so many entries I thought a proper visa would be better. And so I applied for one...

So here I am at the airport immigration. The first agent could not check me in because I used the self-scanning machines and since I have a ESTA nationality passport it could not find the ESTA. So he referred me to another agent who had the same issue.

I then was asked to go with another agent to some office in the back. I did and there it started. 'Why do I have a visa and not a ESTA?' I explained that the US embassy recommended that I get a B1/B2 visa after talking to me as it would be better for my needs.

After answering some questions why I was in the US, the attitude of the officer changed and became hostile. I told him I was there for business and told him about my meetings and the name of the clients. I even offered to give him the phone numbers. I also said that I would only stay 4 weeks max.

The officer seemed to think I was there only to pick up money and go home. He kept insisting that clients paid me in cash money but they don't. We use wire transfers and I'm not there to work just to negotiate contracts.

I told him that in the past clients did pay me cash to pay flights, hotel, car, gas and food as this is their cost.

Now the officer says I should not try bullshit him. However because I went to get a visa and tried to do the right thing he will give me entry for 1 week.

But on my passport it says B1 and also my I-94 says 180 days.

I'm unsure what to do. Do I leave after 1 week and miss out on work for me and my employees? Is the officer allowed to just change dates? If yes, can I in this week's time, appeal it somehow and sort this out?

Help would be welcome.

  • How often do you make these 6-10 weeks trips to the US? How much time are you spending in the US overall? – Traveller Mar 12 at 6:42
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    With expressions like "4 weeks max" and "clients pay flights, hotel [...] as this is their cost", the idea that I get is that you are not going to business meetings/negotiations and the like but that you are going to actually work for your customers while in the USA. Maybe the officer thought the same. – SJuan76 Mar 12 at 22:40
  • The only reasons to get a B1/B2 visa instead of using the VWP are: Either you were refused an ESTA at some point, or you need to visit for more than 90 days on a single visit. The embassy always recommends it even when you don't actually need it and should not bother. – Michael Hampton Mar 13 at 6:05
  • Thanks for the reaction... However. I was never denied a ESTA and have been using a ESTA for 6 years. I don't have to much entries as I normally go to the US only once a year. However it's the first time now that I come back so close to the day I departure. What is less then 3 months ( by 4 days) . That's why I got the D1/D2 visa. I have no intentions to stay here longer then 4 weeks at all. I have several good reasons to go asap. As I always do... Again I do not work here. I meet clients (i have over 200 in the US) – Jordy Rosson Mar 14 at 9:28
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Do I leave after 1 week and miss out on work for me and my employees?

This part of you question is opinion based question however I will chip in my $0.02 cents. If your i94 says 180 days, that’s what is in the official records and what you have been legally given. That said immigration officers can and sometimes do make annotations on a travelers profile and put in flags for you to be scrutinized on your next trip.

Thus although you officially have 180 days, I would advice you err on the side of caution and leave after a week. Regarding missing out on work for your employees amen yourself, my response would be which is worse, missing out on a little work now or getting banned next time? You would lose a lot more work if it is the latter.

Is the officer allowed to just change dates?

What it is important to realize is that unfortunately when it comes to nonimmigrant visas and admission, the immigration officer is usually the judge, jury and executioner and it is prudent to behave accordingly.

If yes can I in this week time appeal for it somehow and sort this out?

You can try, I would not recommend it. It takes weeks, usually months for USCIS to reply to change of status/extension of status issues by which time you would have left. Plus what exactly are you challenging, you got 180 days although it’s not recommended you go beyond a week. USCIS only deals with the official issue. They would likely just reject your request because it’s moot.

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    $0.02 cents is $0.0002 – Antzi Mar 13 at 1:32
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    @Antzi: No. "0.02 cents" means $0.0002. "$0.02 cents" is just a contradiction, and has no meaning at all. – Ben Voigt Mar 13 at 14:15

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