I am currently visiting the US as a tourist.

At the port of entry the visa officer(CBP immigration officer) asked me a couple of questions and then he gave me 12 months as duration of stay in the US.

I went and checked my online i-94, which also reflects the same fact of me being granted 1 year. I came to the US 4th April 2019, the visa officer has given my last date to stay till 2nd April 2020 for this visit.

Does that mean I can stay for almost 12 months and leave. Or do i have to leave around 6 months like everyone else.

  • 1
    What did you tell the officer you had planned to stay in the USA? – Willeke Apr 17 '19 at 18:36
  • I'm a partner in my father's company in India. I came to chill out in the US for 5 months with my brother. The visa officer asked me if it is a problem if i am not in India taking care of the business. I said it is my father's company no one cares if I am out for a long period. My plan was to go back in 5 months this 1 year thing is more exciting as my parents will be joining us for Christmas and I can leave Jan next year. – wsr007 Apr 17 '19 at 18:42
  • @phoog thanks for pointing that out. i'll correct that mistake – wsr007 Apr 17 '19 at 18:57

It's not normal, but it is allowed, despite what most people think. One year is the maximum possible period of initial admission. 8 CFR 214.2(b)(1):

(b) Visitors -

(1) General. Any B-1 visitor for business or B-2 visitor for pleasure may be admitted for not more than one year and may be granted extensions of temporary stay in increments of not more than six months each, except that alien members of a religious denomination coming temporarily and solely to do missionary work in behalf of a religious denomination may be granted extensions of not more than one year each, provided that such work does not involve the selling of articles or the solicitation or acceptance of donations. Those B-1 and B-2 visitors admitted pursuant to the waiver provided at § 212.1(e) of this chapter may be admitted to and stay on Guam for period not to exceed fifteen days and are not eligible for extensions of stay.

Since your passport and the online I-94 database agree that you were admitted until 2 April 2020, you may remain in the US until that day.

However, if you do something different from what you told the officer when you entered, you might be met with a charge of deception. I am not aware of this happening in the US, but it seems fairly common in the UK.

You could protect yourself against suspicion by leaving the US within the five months and then coming back, saying that you have changed your plans because of the extended period of admission. On the other hand, if you have firm evidence of your original plans, you might not need to do that.

Also be aware of tax considerations. If you remain in the US for over 183 days, you will become liable to report and figure income tax on your worldwide income.

  • Thanks. So does that mean it is ok for me to stay and leave a week before the date specified on my i-94. What threw me off was people usually leave in 6 months. But since I get 1 year I was thinking of staying over till Christmas and then leaving like January 2020. From what you mentioned it seems I am ok to stay for 1 year. – wsr007 Apr 17 '19 at 18:47
  • 1
    @wsr007 sure, it's legal for you to stay until January. It is very surprising that you got a year. I've never heard of something like this, and everything I have read from the government (which mentions this possibility rarely) suggests that you can only get more than 6 months if you specifically ask for it. But I suppose that the officer was just sympathetic and decided to give you more because your plans seemed indefinite. – phoog Apr 17 '19 at 18:51
  • thanks , i guess i was just lucky for whatever reason I don't know. I have a long history in the US though. I visited 5 times as a tourist(minor). 10 years on f1 &h1b. And now I came back as a tourist to visit. Whatever it is I'm glad to chill out till January and check out places. – wsr007 Apr 17 '19 at 18:55
  • thanks for the tax information that needs to be accounted for – wsr007 Apr 17 '19 at 19:00
  • 2
    @wsr007 no, you do not need to file for an extension unless you want to stay beyond 2 April 2020. – phoog Apr 17 '19 at 19:38

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