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I have a 10-year US B-1/B-2 visa and this is my first time to USA. I am planning to take a four-month break in the US. I have a job, but I just finished a crazy three-year project and I just need to recharge. The last thing I want to do is plan the whole trip for four months. Even as a traveller, I prefer to just go with my gut. All I know is that I will be staying in New York City for 2-3 weeks. I have booked a hotel for my first three days, during which I will check out some of the Airbnb or lodges I found online and stay there for the rest of the duration in NYC. This is my first time using Airbnb and I am just not comfortable picking a place to stay based on some pictures or reviews. I want to meet the host/see the place I am going to stay. Then the other items on the menu, after my 2-3 week stay in NYC, are:

  • Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
  • Grand Canyon

That's it.

So, how do I convince Immigration on the I-94 to let me stay for four months (Duration of Stay)?

I was told that the only way to convince them is to show hotel booking for four months and that is not possible.

What other ways to prove that I have enough money to stay for the duration?

Or what is Immigration looking to be convinced about?

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    NYC is not a good base to visit the Grand Crayon. – gerrit Apr 27 '15 at 21:42
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    You might find it a lot easier to stay in the USA for 90 days (or less), and then go to Canada (or any other country) for the remainder of your break. Also I would consider moving around rather than just staying in one city, but that's just me. (As @gerrit says, you'll have to travel just to reach the Grand Canyon at all.) – Greg Hewgill Apr 27 '15 at 21:42
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    <rolls eyes> lonetraveller is staying 2-3 weeks in NYC. Then will travel elsewhere. Some questions are unclear; I don't really see that this one is. – mkennedy Apr 27 '15 at 23:08
  • @gerrit I would blame hollywood for romanticising NYC. Plus I love the appeal of a 24hr city. Planning to have a chinese meal at 3am ;). – lonetraveller Apr 28 '15 at 7:17
  • @gerrit NYC is also not a good base to visit the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. Presumably he'll visit those items after the two to three weeks in NYC have elapsed. – phoog Apr 28 '15 at 16:23
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You should have little trouble getting admitted for four months, provided that you:

  • Fill in your landing card with the address of the hotel you will spend your first night (get this address in advance before you travel)
  • Can prove at the border that you can financially support yourself for that time, e.g. with bank statements, your American Express card, etc., as you might be asked for it
  • When asked, explain that you intend to tour the US for four months
  • When asked, accurately list the cities, regions and landmarks that you will visit

You should also strongly consider:

  • Having your return ticket already in hand (your airline will likely want you to do this anyway)

The CBP officer will not care that you want to be a tourist for four months. You already have a visa that will allow you to be a tourist for six months! What he will look for is evidence that you are not actually visiting, and will try to live here.

If your story is inconsistent (e.g. you say you want to visit the Grand Canyon but incorrectly say where in the US it is) or you don't have at least a general outline of what you will visit, you may have trouble. But it sounds like you have fairly well planned your visit already, so I wouldn't expect difficulty.

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    I don't see that he incorrectly says where the Grand Canyon is. He lists two things he'd like to see. Neither of them is in New York City. The obvious implication is that he wants to see them in addition to New York City, not while he is in New York City. – phoog Apr 28 '15 at 16:20
  • Of my 4 months stay, only 2-3 weeks will be in NYC. The Grand Canyon and Smithsonian are my two destination where I will be spending SOME of my remaining 3 months 1-2 weeks AFTER my NYC trip. – lonetraveller Apr 28 '15 at 21:11
  • @phoog That was a hypothetical example, not an accusation. – Michael Hampton Apr 29 '15 at 0:03
  • @MichaelHampton I guess I skimmed over the "if" at the beginning of that sentence. Sorry. – phoog Apr 29 '15 at 16:08
  • I would bet that fewer than half US citizens could tell you which state the Grand canyon is in. – DJClayworth Feb 18 '17 at 1:49
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People are generally admitted into B2 status for 6 months. The immigration officer can give something shorter if he feels like it, but generally due to reasons like having already been in the U.S. too much recently, or suspicion that you plan to work in the U.S., or something like that. There is no way to "ensure" you will get a certain amount of time. At the same time, if this is your first time in the U.S., and you don't run into an unusually strict officer, you will get 6 months even if you're not planning to be there for that long.

  • For that matter, there's no way to ensure that you'll be admitted in the first place, short of proof of US citizenship. Again, not terribly likely unless something seems fishy, but it's always a possibility. – cpast Apr 28 '15 at 6:58
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Since you have a B1/B2 visa someone already looked into your situation and decided you have ample ties to your home country. You should have no problems at all. At the border simply tell the truth! Also, consider booking four months out a refundable one way ticket. You can cancel the moment you are in the USA but it might help to be able to show you have a flight ticket to leave.

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