I entered the U.S. on a B visitor visa. I recently returned to India. Now, I am ready to return to my studies in the U.S. The problem is that I have a B visitor visa in my passport, but I am in school. What should I say when I return?
I entered the U.S. in 2008 on a B visitor visa. After a few months I applied to my school for an F1 student status while I remained in the U.S. My grandmother grew ill, so I recently returned to India. Now, I am ready to return to my studies in the U.S. The problem is that I have a B visitor visa in my passport, but I am in school. What should I say when I return? Do I even have the right visa?
Puneet, If your B visa is still valid you may try to use it to enter the U.S. I believe you may have a problem entering because the last time you used the B visa you changed to an F student status. You overstayed your welcome as a visitor basically. If your attempt to reenter as a visitor fails and you are turned away at the border check, you can apply for an F student visa at your nearest U.S. consulate. However, the consulate already issued you a B visitor visa and you did not depart the U.S. on time as agreed. Instead, you switched to an F student status. The consulate never approved the switch.
It was perfectly legal for you to switch from a B to an F status while in the U.S. because the USCIS approved your application for a change of status. However, the consulate never issued you an F visa and the border agent allowed you entry as a visitor on the promise you would depart the U.S. when your visit ended. The border agent gave you a departure date.
Agencies do not all agree with each other. Now that you’ve departed the U.S., I think you may have difficulty returning on either a B visitor visa or F student visa. You can only try. Be sure to continue always telling the truth about your intentions when speaking to an immigration officer. You have not misrepresented your intentions, and it is important that you continue being open and honest about them. Allow the immigration officers to decide what to do. I hope this helps.