If you are in the United States with a visitor visa, you may need or want to extend your stay. Maybe you want more time with family, possibly a medical procedure is taking longer than expected, or your studies call for an extra semester. Whatever the reason may be, you may be eligible to apply for a visitor visa extension.
A U.S. visa extension is a petition to stay longer in the United States, past the date issued on your current nonimmigrant visa. A visitor visa is any nonimmigrant visa, which allows you to stay in the United States for a limited time period and under a specific circumstance and purpose.
You are eligible for a U.S. visitor visa extension if:
If you are in the United States under the following circumstances, you are ineligible for a visitor visa extension:
When you first obtain your visa, you are given an I-94 date. Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, is issued to those admitted to the U.S., adjusting their status while in the US., or extending their stay. You will either have a printed copy which goes on your passport, or an electronic form which reads “Admit Until Date.” Applying for an extension of stay means your departure number, or admissions record number, will change.
A helpful reminder — your visa does not show your length of stay; it only shows when you arrive and the number of times you may seek admission into the U.S. Only your I-94 form shows your departure date.
To extend your I-94 date, you will fill out Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. It’s important to note that if you do not apply for an extension of stay and remain in the United States past your authorized stay date, you may either be:
There are two forms involved in how to extend a visitor visa in USA: I-539 and I-94.
You will first need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Make sure the form is filled out correctly and signed before you send it to USCIS. It is helpful to work with an immigration lawyer to make sure all sections are completely filled out.
Additional evidence you need to include is different for every visa. You should not send original documents unless requested by the USCIS. All documents in a language other than English must include an English translation. Some examples of required evidence include:
There is variety in what is needed to submit with your application for extension of stay. USCIS has a checklist of required evidence. We also encourage you to speak with your immigration lawyer for a more in-depth look into your specific requirements.
You will need to set up a USCIS online account. You will receive all information through your account.
The second option is to file by mail. There are different filing addresses that correspond to your “filing type,” or which visa you currently are filing with. USCIS provides all filing locations for each visa type.
If your extension for a visitor visa is approved, you will be issued a new I-94 card with a new departure date. We suggest that you make copies or the approval letter and I-94, as they can be utilized as evidence to petition for your next visa.
Keep your former I-94 form, as you will have to present both the newly issued and the previous form when departing from the US.
You should file Form I-539 at least 45 days before your I-94 form expires. Ideally, the USCIS will receive your application before your authorized stay expires, but they must receive your application by the initial departure date.
After your file, you will receive a receipt number (your case number), which indicates the processing time of your application. You will also be scheduled for a biometrics appointment.
If your application is denied, you will receive a letter and will need to leave the US immediately.
You are allowed to extend tourist visa and extend your business date if you are B1 or B2 holder. The typical amount of time granted to a B visa holder is one to six months. The maximum amount of time you can extend on a B-1 visa is up to 6 months, for a total of 1 year.
It is a common misconception that you are only allowed to file for an extension of stay if you are a B1, business visa holder or a B2, tourism visa holder. In reality, many visa holders. Nonimmigrant visa extension periods differ depending on your visa status. For example, H1-B visa holders can apply to extend for a maximum of six years (3 additional years) whereas O-1 visa holders may only have up to one year of an extension. Speak with your immigration lawyer to find out what your extension time may be and additional steps that may be required.
If you have filed for an extension before your I-94 expired date and your application is still under review, you may stay in the U.S. for 240 days. You need to have followed and continue following the terms of your status. You can stay in that period until the USCIS approves or denies your application, or until the reason for your application is accomplished.
You will need to keep a copy of your application and the receipt notice. If you do not show these forms to the Immigration Inspector when you return to the U.S., you may be denied entry.
It is helpful to present a copy of return tickets. Upcoming flights can prove you intend to stay only temporarily.
We encourage you to wait for a period of your visa to pass before applying for an extension of stay. If you apply right when you arrive in the United States, USCIS may view your application as a pre-planned act.
The experienced immigration lawyers of Chicago at Scott D. Pollock & Associates PC are here to help you apply for your visitor visa extension application. Working with an immigration attorney can help you navigate the nuances and requirements of extending your stay in the United States. If you have any questions about the process, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!View Similar Articles