Canadian visitors to the US do not need a visa, and generally are lawfully admitted to the US for six months. However, recently, some Canadian visitors have been have been learning that US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) authorized one of their previous trips for a shorter period than expected. This can cause problems with unintentional overstay.
B Visitor Visa
Q: I am a US Citizen, and my mom is a citizen of China. She is here on a B-2 visa for a visit and she’s considering extending her stay or applying for a green card. Which is a better choice?
A: Yes, either extending a B-2 visitor visa or applying for permanent residence (a green card) might be possible for your mom. I’ll list some guidelines below to help you start to think about this situation:
Extending a B-2 visa: B-2 tourist visitors may be granted extensions up to 6 months after their status expires. To request an extension, your mom needs to apply before her current visa expires. I recommend she applies after being in the US about 3 months. When she applies, she needs to provide a reason for her request, and provide evidence of the reason if possible. A common reason for extending a B-2 tourist visa is related to health issues. Sometimes a visitor needs to stay longer because of a doctor’s order, or in order to obtain medical treatment.
Q: I am a US Citizen and want to marry my Canadian boyfriend. How can I get him to live in the US with me?
A: Yes, you have a couple options . . .
-1- You could apply for a K-1 fiancé visa for your boyfriend. This would let him enter the US for 90 days and you would get married during this time. After you married, you spouse could stay in the US apply to adjust status to a permanent resident (aka get a green card!) For this path, you would start by filing an I-129f. This would be processed with USCIS, and then would be sent to NVC, and eventually to the US Embassy in Canada. It could take around 4-9 months.
-2- Another path is to marry your boyfriend overseas, and then after you’re married, you would file an i-130 to sponsor him as your spouse. In this scenario, he would wait in Canada for the I-130 to be approved, and then would enter the US and be able to immediately obtain a green card. This second process might cause a little longer wait in Canada, but it would have less filing fees.
An attorney could help you write out the options and organize all of the costs and timelines for you. Also, a word of caution: your boyfriend cannot obtain a B visitors visa if his intent is to come to the US, marry you, and remain in the US to adjust status.