USCIS Planning Revisions to B Visa Program Rules

Eliza Grinberg's picture

On May 30, 2018, the Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Lee Francis Cissna, sent a letter about future rulemaking regarding the B visa program to Paul Mitchell, the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 10th Congressional District. Congressman Mitchell had, on May 16, hosted a roundtable to discuss B1 visa abuse. You may read Director Cissna's letter here: [PDF version].

Director Cissna informed Congressman Mitchell and several members of his Congressional subcommittee that the USCIS is focusing on many issues involving the B visa program. He referred to the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which discussed “a proposed regulation pertaining to nonimmigrants admitted to the United States as temporary visitors for business (B1) or pleasure (B2).” He explained that the proposed regulatory changes “will clarify the criteria for according B1 or B2 nonimmigrant classification to applicants for admission to the United States.” Furthermore, the rule making process constitutes a priority for the DHS and the USCIS.

Director Cissna added that the USCIS, in consultation with other immigration components of the DHS and the U.S. Department of State (DOS), is “reviewing existing policy with respect to B1 in lieu of H1 [and] B1 in lieu of H3.” (Internal quotation marks omitted.) These B visa program issues were a specific focus of the roundtable.

More individuals enter the United States as nonimmigrant visitors — whether through the B1 or B2 categories or through the Visa Waiver Program — than do individuals under any other nonimmigrant visa category. Accordingly, any changes to the B1 and B2 visa criteria would potentially affect a great number of nonimmigrant visitors to the United States. We will post updates to the website when the USCIS formally publishes its proposed rule(s) on the issue. To learn about the B1 and B2 nonimmigrant visitor categories and the Visa Waiver Program, please see our website's growing section on Travel Visas [see category].

USCIS Planning Revisions to B Visa Program Rules