Visa Extension: How do I extend my stay?
Why Do You Need to Extend Your Nonimmigrant Status?
A nonimmigrant temporarily enters the United States for a specific purpose such as business, study, or pleasure. When you entered the country as a nonimmigrant, a U.S. immigration inspector should have examined your passport and visa and then given you a Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). This record should tell you (in the lower right-hand corner) when you must leave the United States. You can prove you did not violate U.S. laws by turning in your Form I-94 to the proper authorities when you leave the country. If you want to extend your stay in the United States, then you must ask for permission from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized stay expires. Proof that you are willing to obey U.S. immigration laws will be important if you want to travel to the United States as an immigrant or nonimmigrant in the future. If you break immigration laws, you may also become subject to removal (deportation).
What Does the Law Say?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs the admission of all people to the United States. For the part of the law concerning temporary admissions to the United States, please see INA § 214. The applicable regulations are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 8 CFR § 214.
Who is Eligible?
You may apply to extend your stay if you were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid, and you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible. You must apply to extend your status if you wish to stay longer than the date indicated in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record). Please note, you must submit the application for an extension of stay BEFORE your current authorized stay expires. You must also keep your passport valid for your entire stay in the United States. You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the United States in the following visa categories:
- (VWP) - Visa Waiver Program
- D - As a crewman
- C - As an alien in transit or in transit without a visa
- K - As a fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé
- S - As an informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime
Must My Spouse and Child Apply to Extend Their Stay in the United States?
Yes. Your spouse and child must also apply to extend their stay if theyr are here on derivative nonimmigrant status. It is best to apply at the same time as you sumit your request for extension.
When Should I Apply?
You apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, your application must be received by U.S. Immigration by the day your authorized stay expires.
What If My Authorized Stay Has Already Expired? (What If I Am Late Filing for an Extension?)
If you are late filing for an extension and your authorized stay has already expired, you must prove that:
- The delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
- The length of the delay was reasonable;
- You have not done anything else to violate your nonimmigrant status (such as work without USCIS approval);
- You are still a nonimmigrant (This means you are not trying to become a permanent resident of the United States. There are some exceptions.); and
- You are not in formal proceedings to remove (deport) you from the country