If you have a visitor visa in the United States, you may need to extend your stay. You may need more time to complete a business project or a medical procedure is taking longer than expected. Whatever the reason, you may be eligible to apply for a visitor visa extension.
A visitor visa is any nonimmigrant visa that allows you to stay in the United States for a limited time and under specific circumstances. Your B1 or B2 visa is valid for ten years, but you can only stay for six months consecutively.
When you enter the U.S. with your B1 or B2 visa, you will have a departure date listed on your I-94.
A U.S. visa extension is a petition to stay in the United States beyond the date issued on your current nonimmigrant visa. USCIS recommends filing for an extension at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires.
While the application is under review, you can stay in the United States. However, USCIS does not guarantee approval. If you receive a denial for your extension, you must leave the United States immediately to avoid being “out of status.” Being “out of status” can lead to deportation and affect your ability to return to the U.S.
To determine your eligibility for a U.S. visitor visa extension, you must:
You will not be eligible for a visitor visa extension in the United States if you:
When you first obtain your visa, you will receive an I-94 date. The U.S. issues Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, to individuals entering the country, adjusting their status while in the U.S., or extending their stay.
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.
You will have a printed copy of your arrival/departure record in your passport or an electronic form that reads “Admit Until Date.” Applying for an extension of stay will change your departure or admissions record number.
To extend your I-94 date, you will complete Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
If you do not apply for an extension of stay and remain in the United States past your authorized stay date, you may be:
The process of extending a visitor visa in the USA involves two forms: I-539 and I-94.
First, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The form must be carefully completed and signed before being sent to USCIS. An immigration attorney can help you complete all the sections correctly.
Visitor Visa Extension Fee – There is a $370 filing fee for Form I-539 and an additional $85 biometrics service fee. The USCIS uses biometric services for fingerprints, digital signatures, and photographs to confirm your identity. A biometrics appointment is not an interview and only takes 15 to 30 minutes.
General Requirements — When you submit your I-539 form, you must also submit evidence, including copies of your Form-194 and proof of financial support.
Additional evidence you need to include is different for every visa. You should only send original documents if requested by the USCIS. An English translation must accompany all non-English documents.
Some examples of required evidence include:
We also encourage you to speak with your immigration lawyer for a more in-depth look at your requirements.
You have two options for filing your application for an extension of stay. First, you can apply for visa extension form I-539 online. You will need to set up a USCIS online account and will receive all information through your account.
The second option is to file by mail. Different filing addresses correspond to your “filing type” or the visa you are currently filing with. Check with USCIS for the filing locations for each visa type.
If your extension for a visitor visa is approved, you will receive a new I-94 card with a new departure date. We suggest you make copies of the approval letter and your I-94. You can use these documents as evidence to petition for your next visa.
Keep your former I-94 form as well. You may have to present your newly issued and previous forms when departing from the US.
The USCIS typically grants a B visa holder an extension of one to six months. The maximum amount of time you can extend on a B-1 visa is six months and a total of one 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. However, many visa holders have this option.
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.
The Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. team of attorneys can help you determine your extension time and additional steps that may be required.
Once you submit your Form I-539, you can expect to wait three to six months before receiving your approval or denial.
If you file for an extension before your I-94 expires and your application is still under review when your I-94 expires, you may stay in the U.S. for 240 days. If you have followed and continue following the terms of your status, you can wait until the USCIS approves or denies your application.
Whether your visa extension request is approved or denied, there are essential steps you must take.
If Your Extension is Approved
If Your Extension is Denied
You must 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., re-entry may be denied.
Ensuring a smooth U.S. visa extension process requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Here are some common pitfalls and how to avoid them:
At Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., our experienced immigration lawyers are here to help you apply for your visitor visa extension application. Working with an immigration attorney can help you navigate the complexities 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