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Unmarried/Cohabitating Partners

Unmarried or cohabitating partners (also known as domestic partners or "common law spouses") are not eligible for dependent family visas. Our office does not support or help with those seeking B visas. A list of local attorneys can be provided if needed.

Options for a cohabitating partner to enter the U.S.

A cohabitating partner has two (2) options to enter the U.S:

  1. Arrange their own visa sponsorship from a U.S. employer or U.S. university, which may offer a visa status such as J-1 Exchange Visitor, H-1B Specialty Worker, F-1 Student, TN etc.  If the cohabitating partner arranges their own visa sponsorship from a U.S. employer or U.S. university, the cohabitating partner's employer or university will offer guidance about the visa process.
  2. Enter the U.S. with B-2 Tourist visa status.

Cohabitating partners may enter in B-2 Tourist visa status if:

  • Their primary purpose in coming to the U.S. is to accompany their partner, who is in an authorized nonimmigrant status; and

  • Their does not intend to work while in B-2 status.

Preparing to enter as a B-2 cohabitating partner

  • If the cohabitating partner does not have a valid B-2 Tourist visa in their passport, a B-2 Tourist visa must be obtained at an American Embassy or Consulate. (Only Canadian citizens do not need visas in their passports to enter the United States.)

  • When entering the U.S., be prepared to demonstrate to the Immigration officer that you are a cohabitating partner.  Bring copies of the documentation that accompanied your B-2 visa application and/or copies of your partner's visa documentation.

Length of stay

  • The initial length of stay granted when entering the U.S. may be up to one year, although many B-2 visitors are granted an initial period of six (6) months.

  • The length of permitted stay will be indicated on the I-94 record, which will be available after entering the U.S.  All Foreign Nationals must review their I-94 record after entry to the U.S.

  • Extensions of B-2 visa status may be obtained by traveling abroad and reentering the U.S. (the additional time must be reflected on the new I-94 record), or applying for an extension of stay while in the U.S. via Form I-539.


  • U.S. Customs and Border Protections officers require that the B-2 partner prove he/she has an actual, physical residence abroad which he/she has no intention of abandoning.

  • The cohabitating partner has no basis to gain legal permanent residence (green card) in the U.S. on the basis of the cohabitating relationship.

  • Our office is not permitted to assist in B applications.