It is not uncommon for a visitor to misunderstand the rules, and mistakenly think that they can remain in the U.S. for the entire 10 years (or the shorter duration of their specific visa). That is not the case at all!
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Based on the answers the traveler provides, and other information available to them, the officer will decide how long the visitor will be permitted to remain in the U.S. during that visit. Often travelers are permitted to stay for 6 months or 3 months, but there is no guarantee for that length of stay. The permitted stay can be shorter, or the entry can be denied entirely. In some instances, a traveler with a valid visitor visa will fly to the U.S., and be turned back after seeing a CBP officer, if that officer believes that the traveler is not going to abide by the rules that apply to the visa. This is more likely to happen if the visitor had multiple previous visits to the U.S., or if the visitor appears to be spending more time outside, than inside, his or her home country. Since a visitor visa does not permit someone to work in the U.S., if someone has spent long periods of time in the U.S., the officer may suspect that the traveler has been working in the U.S. without authorization to support him or herself while in the country.
If a visitor purchases a round-trip ticket with a return date that is less than 6 months from entry, the visitor can request that they be allowed to stay until at least that date, so as not to incur a charge for changing the ticket. There is no guarantee, however, that this request will be granted. Visitors should plan to leave at least a few days before the end of the allowable visit, to account for issues that may cause delays in returning, and therefore result in overstaying the term permitted by their visa
The CBP officer may write the length of the authorized stay in the visitor’s passport, but it will also be noted on a visitor’s Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94). This is an electronic form which a traveler can obtain from the CBP web site after they enter the country at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
As stated above, a tourist is not permitted to work in the U.S. If they do work while in the U.S., they are subject to deportation, visa cancellation, and can be barred from applying for a future visa. For this reason, if a person comes for a lengthy visit, or multiple visits, of up to 6 months, he or she must have a valid explanation for how they will live in the U.S. for that amount of time without working. A notarized letter from a U.S. citizen which verifies the information from the visitor may be useful in this regard (stating, for example, that the visitor will be supported entirely during his or her visit and therefore will not incur any costs).
It is very important to understand the length of time a stay is authorized by the CBP officer, so that the visitor leaves before the expiration of the allowable stay. Even if the length of stay is written into the passport, the visitor should look up his or her Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) online to confirm that the information there matches the visitor's understanding of their authorized period of stay.
When a foreign visitor leaves the U.S., his or her exit is recorded electronically. If the exit date is after the date listed in the Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94), the visa is subject to be cancelled, and notification may come via email or letter to the home address of record of the visa holder. It is very difficult to appeal these cancellations, and getting a future visa may be difficult, or near impossible, depending on how long the overstay was. It is recommended that visitors not risk overstaying!
It is possible to extend a B1/B2 visa up to a total period of one year. It should be noted, however, that it can take several months to receive an extension, and the extension application must be submitted before the expiration of the stay granted in the Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94). If possible, visitors are encouraged to submit the extension application several months before the expiration of their authorized stay to avoid any negative future immigration consequences related to an overstay while the application is pending. It is always advisable to consult with an immigration attorney before applying for an extension of the stay, and even more so if the application cannot be submitted far in advance (as there is a high likelihood that the application will still be pending when the period of authorized stay will expire).
In applying for an extension of the stay, it is important to document the reason the extension is necessary, and how the visitor will pay for their stay or be supported to demonstrate they are not violating the visitor visa by working. If the extension is ultimately denied, the visitor should leave the country immediately upon receipt of the denial of their extension.
To summarize - the length of the visa does not give permission to stay for that amount of time. The permitted stay is determined at the airport or port of entry by the CBP officer who inspects the visitor. Overstaying a visitor visa, or working and violating the terms of the visa will have adverse consequences for future visa applications