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B-2 visas

Cohabitating Partners

B-2 for Unmarried Cohabitating Partners, including Same-Sex Partners, and Other Household Members Legally recognized civil unions and domestic partnerships are not treated the same as marriage for immigration purposes. An unmarried partner will not be allowed to enter the United States on a derivative visa. Therefore, if you have not yet married your partner, your partner won't be eligible for a derivative visa. USCIS has issued a Memorandum stating that in circumstances where elderly parents, cohabitating nonimmigrant partners, and other household members of principal nonimmigrants are ineligible for derivative status, they can use the B-2 visa. Such individuals may seek a B-2 visa, or change status to B-2, to allow them to reside with a principal nonimmigrant visa holder in the US in another temporary visa status (i.e., H-1B, F-1, etc.).

The Department of State (DOS) provides for issuance of B-2 visas to these household members. DOS guidance directs consular officers to notate the B-2 visa with the principal nonimmigrant’s visa type and duration, and to advise the B-2 visa holder to seek admission for one year at the point of entry if the B-2 visa holder plans to stay in the United States more than 6 months. Unmarried cohabitating spouses, elderly parents and household members that have enterd the U.S. with a B-2 visa can seek extensions in six month increments while in the United States for the duration of the principal alien’s nonimmigrant status.