Change to Tourist (Visitor) Visa (B2)


I have a few questions regarding change of status.

I am a 28-year-old male from Belgium, currently on a F1 student visa. I came first to the US in March 2007 on a J1 visa (and DS-2019 form), valid for 1 year. I extended this visa (and received a new DS-2019 form) for another year (valid until March 2009.)
After that I applied for a student visa without leaving the country and I enrolled full-time in a language school. The USCIS took a long time to process this request (I never received the actual visa -- only the confirmation from the USCIS that my request is being processed which made me a legal non-immigrant.) I decided to visit my home country in June 2010 so I started the process of a new request from scratch to obtain my actual F1 visa by going to the American embassy in Belgium. With success! In June 2010 I obtained a F1 visa valid for 5 years (although I only requested one until the end of July 2011 as stated on my I-20.)
This the situation I am currently in. My school will end on July 15th 2011. That will give me 60 days from that day on to either leave the country or change my status.

I have the desire to stay in the US for another 6 months to finish things up. I am planning on going to Canada for 1 week in August. I was wondering whether it is recommended for me to visit the American embassy in Canada and request a tourist visa (B2) for 6 months or not. As I am from Belgium (a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program) I have been told I do not need a visa to be in the US for a stay shorter than 3 months. If that is the case, might it be better for me to leave to Canada, just re-enter the US after a week in Canada, stay for up to 3 months in the US, leave to Canada again, stay there for a few days and re-enter the US again for another 3 months?

I would like to know (as far as your knowledge reaches) which of these 2 options is my best bet.
- Is there a chance the American embassy in Canada will deny my request for a visitors visa considering my history of J1 and F1 visas (although I have NEVER been illegal, have ALWAYS filed the correct paperwork, have NEVER had any kind of trouble obtaining a visa so far and have ALWAYS lived by the rules/limitations of these visas)?
- And what happens if my visa request is denied? Will I still be able to re-enter the US for less than 3 months as part of the VWP?
- Or is it a bigger risk to try to re-enter the US twice after leaving for a short stay in Canada?
- If I opt for this last option: how long do I need to be out of the US (in Canada) to be able to re-enter the US without any problems. Is 24-48 hours enough?
- Also: might it be better to visit the American embassy in Belgium instead of Canada and request a 6 months visitors visa there? Do you think the embassy in Belgium might be more likely to grant me a visitors visa?
- Can you think of any other options to extend my stay in the US for another 6 months (without a student visa)?

I hope you understand my situation and I appreciate you helping me answering these questions. I really do not want to make any mistakes.
Thank you so much!

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

Tim Thompson



Phil's picture

Hi Tim, I don't like to

Hi Tim, I don't like to tackle questions like this in this forum because there is too much at stake if I give you some advice and it turns out to be incorrect because I don't have all the facts.

That being said, I think your best options are to apply to change your status to B1/B2 before the end of your course of study or simply return to Belgium and then return the the U.S. on the VWP. You might be able to do this via Canada but I'm not sure about this and would have to research a bit.

If you want a formal legal opinion I do offer a consultation service.

Other Immigration Resources

Recent comments