Recently, a realtor who had a client come into the United States from Great Britain. She came in with what is known as a Visa Waiver, which is granted for 90 days. These individuals don’t require a visa, they just come in with a passport. The problem is that these foreign nationals can not extend their stay nor can they change their status to a working class visa within the United States, which would allow them to obtain a social security number and credit. All that, unfortunately, must be done outside of the United States.
On the other hand, a B-2 Tourist Visa is a special visa given by the embassy with a stamp inside of the passport. It’s usually granted for a ten year period, depending on the country. These visas are issued by the U.S. Embassy in the homeland of the foreign national. This visa allows individuals to enter the United States usually for six month increments. The major advantage to this visa category, and contrary the Visa Waiver Program, is that it can be extended for another six months, or it can be changed to a different status, such as an E-2 or L-1A business classification visa should the individual so desire. I wanted to make this clear because we are getting referrals from realtors, which we greatly appreciate, however, this little point needs to be clarified when working with someone in the United States under a Visa Waiver Program. For these people, there is no extension and there is no change of status inside the United States.
For both the B-2 Tourist visa and the Visa Waiver Program, any overstay beyond the expiration could result in serious repercussions.