Good News for Cohabitating Partners and Other Household Members

Based on a recent internal memo, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has taken a friendlier posture in regards to applications to change and/or extend status for B-2 Visitors for Pleasure for cohabitating partners and other nonimmigrant household members. The USCIS memo, which updates the agency’s Adjudicator’s Field Manual, can be viewed here.

The memo suggests the agency will look more favorably on petitions to change or extend status for B-2 Visitors, where household members may regularly reside in the same dwelling as a principal nonimmigrant in another status, and maintain a relationship of the type that one that would be expected of persons between “nuclear family members.”  Such persons would include elderly parents and same sex partners, amongst others.  The memo states states that “the cohabitating partner’s relationship to the nonimmigrant principal alien in another status will be considered a favorable factor in allowing the household member to obtain or remain eligible for B-2 classification.” Further, the agency says that the “finite nature” of the stay is a controlling factor in making an adjudication, rather than reviewing the actual length of stay.

The memo appears to be initiated to better coordinate with the Department of State’s policy of issuing visas in such circumstances, provided all other prerequisites for B-2 status are met, such as proof of temporary intent and maintaining ties and equities abroad.  The Department of State lists the following requirements as fundamental to a B-2 petition:

“The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;
  • That they plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
  • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States;
  • Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and
  • That they have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties that will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.”