I have a B2 visa and spent 5 1/2 months travelling in the US. I returned May 18th. The court date is Sept 25th. Whilst I was there I witnessed an assault. This was a long time ago and I didn't hear much about it until I was forwarded a letter which was basically a summons to court. Now I believe I'm not legally obliged to attend as I'm not an US citizen, however I know the victim personally and would like to help. Also I will be going to Canada around that time so could easily stop there first.

If I return can I say to the border control that I need to attend a court date? As this isn't exactly "tourism" & I don't want to get in trouble.

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    Another possibility would be to contact the court and ask to give your evidence by phone or Skype.
    – A E
    Jun 6 '16 at 19:38
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    B-2 visas are not solely for touristic purposes. Many non-business purposes are allowed. I am fairly certain, without having time to check right now, that attending court is included.
    – phoog
    Jun 6 '16 at 19:42
  • Check with the court in question. They can tell you if there are options for testifyingor if they can help with visa processing since the government is the cause for your return anyway.
    – cdkMoose
    Jun 6 '16 at 20:46
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    One issue is that trials get postponed, and postponed, and etc. You may want to contact the court to try to make sure they won't do that to you.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 6 '16 at 20:58

Is it really only a B-2 visa or a B-1/B-2? They usually come together, though it's possible to get a visa that is only for one purpose.

According to the US Embassy Manila, appearing in court is an activity for a B-1 visa. If you have a B-1/B-2 visa, then you're fine. If your really only have a B-2 visa, that's a little more of an issue (though you might well get away with it).

I am, of course, assuming you have a multiple-entry visa valid for another trip to the US.

  • 1
    While court appearance is given as an example of a permissible business activity, I am quite certain that travel to the US for a court appearance in a non-professional capacity would be permissible under a B-2 visa.
    – phoog
    Jun 7 '16 at 14:58

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