A tourist visa is issued for a temporary visit to the U.S. for both business and tourism. If you get a multiple-entry tourist visa, you can enter the U.S. multiple times without reapplying for a visa. You can stay for a maximum of 180 days on a tourist visa in a single entry.
You cannot work or find work in the U.S. on a tourist visa. A tourist visa prohibits the holder from taking up any full-time, part-time, or volunteer jobs. If you want to work in the U.S., then you must apply for a work visa. Depending upon the nature of your work, you might get one of several visa options.
However, in case you get a job in the U.S. on a tourist visa, your employer can apply for your visa status change before your tourist visa expires. Overstaying in the U.S can lead to severe punishment. Your entry to the U.S. could get barred for several years if you violate visa laws.
Can You Extend Your Stay In The U.S.?
Yes, you can extend your stay in the U.S. To extend your stay in the U.S., you must remember to:
- Fill out the form I-539 for extension
- Submit the form to USCIS before your tourist visa expires
- Apply for the extension at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of your current visa
The expiration date of your authorized status is mentioned on your Form I-94. If you are found overstaying in the U.S., you may get barred from reentry, or even get deported to your home country. You can apply for an extension if:
- You have a nonimmigrant visa and were allowed in the U.S. lawfully
- Your nonimmigrant visa is still valid
- You do not have any criminal record
- You have not violated any laws during your stay
- Your passport will remain valid during your extended stay
There are also some situations when you cannot apply for a visa extension. You cannot extend your stay if you are:
- Visiting the U.S. on a Visa Waiver Program
- A crewmember
- In transit through the United States
- In transit through the U.S. without a visa
- A fiancé of a U.S. citizen
- An informant on terrorism or organized crime
How to Apply for Status Adjustment If Employed on a Tourist Visa
If you receive an employment offer while on a tourist visa in the U.S., then you can apply for a status change from a tourist visa to a work visa. The request goes to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Remember to submit your application for the change of your nonimmigrant status while your tourist visa is still valid.
The H-1B visa is the most applied-for work visa in the U.S. To sponsor your H-1B visa, your employer will need to file an I-129 petition with USCIS. Since you would already have a B-1 or B-2 visa, you will be offered a change of status and extension of your visa. You can also apply for an O-1 visa that allows your employer to hire you temporarily. But, even for the O-1 visa, your employer will have to file an I-129 petition.
If you start working without getting a work permit, you might face severe consequences. Submission of an application does not guarantee a status change. Make sure to apply for status change long before your tourist visa expires to avoid overstaying the permitted time in the U.S.
FAQs – Work Permit In The U.S. On A Tourist Visa
1. How can I get a work visa?
Your employer will have to file an I-129 petition with the USCIS. There are a number of work visas that you can get based on the field of work, your experience, and the duration of the project.
2. What is the meaning of ‘overstay’?
Your form I-94 has a specific expiration date mentioned on it. Staying past the mentioned date is termed as ‘overstaying’ in the United States. You can face a serious penalty if you stay past this date.
3. Can I apply for an extension of my stay in the U.S.?
Yes, you can. Remember to file for an extension before your current visa expires.
4. What will happen if I overstay in the U.S.?
If you overstay in the U.S., you might face severe punishment. You could get barred from re-entry to the U.S., or deported to your home country.
5. What is the Employment Authorization Document?
The Employment Authorization Document is the work permit used by the U.S. for some nonimmigrants. You need a physical copy of your EAD before you start working in the U.S.
6. Can I search for a job on my tourist visa?
No, you are not allowed to look for work on your tourist visa.
7. Can I apply for a change of status?
Yes, you can. Apply for a change of status before your tourist visa expires.
8. How much processing time does it take to get a work permit in the U.S.?
Usually, it takes three to five months for USCIS to process a work permit.
9. How can I avoid overstaying and working legally in the U.S.?
You can either depart from the U.S., or apply for an extension while your tourist visa is still active. If you want to work in the U.S., you will have to apply for a work permit.
10. Can my visa application get rejected?
The submission of the application does not guarantee that you will be issued a visa. A lot of factors are taken into consideration before the U.S. consulate issues you a visa.
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