USA Visitor Visa is a non-immigrant US visa issued to people entering America temporarily for business (B-1), or for pleasure/medical treatment (B-2). These are generally issued for a period of six months, but an additional maximum extension of 6 months can be granted based on the USCIS approval.

If you want to extend your I-94 date or extend US visa stay in the United States, you must file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status before your authorized stay expires. If you remain in the United States longer than authorized, you may be barred from returning and/or you may be removed (deported) from the United States. Check the date in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to determine the date your authorized stay expires. USCIS recommends that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires.

You may apply to extend your stay if:

  • You have a valid legitimate reason to request for visa extension, under the visa category.
  • You were lawfully admitted into the United States with a non-immigrant visa
  • Your non-immigrant US visa status remained valid
  • You have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa
  • You have not violated the conditions of your admission to USA
  • Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay.
  • You have definite plans to leave US at the end of the proposed visa extension period.
  • Proper evidence for financial support is provided.

Note : You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

  • Crew member (D non-immigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States (C non-immigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
  • Fiance of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiance (K non-immigrant visa)
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S non-immigrant visa)

Documents required for the US visa extension:

When should I apply for Visa extension?

USCIS recommend that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, but the USCIS Service Center must receive your application by the day your authorized stay expires.

What after filing the application?

Once you file the visa extension application, USCIS will send you a receipt with a receipt number( 13 digit) This is your case number. The approximate processing time will be indicated on the receipt. It can take few weeks to several weeks to process your case.

You may allowed to stay in the US for 240 days after the expiration date on your I-94, provided you have filed for extension of your stay before your I-94 expired and your application is still under review.

You can check and check your visa extension case status online using case/receipt number.

Or call National Customer Service Center 1-800-375-5283

If visa extension approved:

If your application for an extension is approved you will be issued a replacement I-94 with a new departure date. Make a copy of this approval letter and I-94 and keep into your record, these will be useful for future entry to USA. You should carry these when you make next US trip or appear for a fresh US visa next time.

You can remain in USA up to until this new I-94 date. When you leave USA, must submit both(old and new) I-94 to the airline staff on check in counter.

See a sample visa extension approval notice (I-539).

If Visa extension denied:

If your visa extension application rejected or denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will then be required to leave USA immediately.

What if you overstayed on US Visa ?

  • If you are a multiple entry US visa holder and overstayed your multiple entry visa Visa may becomes Void under rule INA 222(g/2).
    (Note this it is not always true that overstay means the visa become void. This may be the worst case for those who overstayed by many months etc.)
  • You may not be allowed to enter into USA at the port of entry.
  • You may be deported if not leave on time.

Since the time taken for the approval is not known, the best thing a person should do is to keep the travel plan ready based on the original I-94 dates if you get the approval its well and good , else should leave the country. This way you keep your option to enter into USA in future and avoid any legal problems.

No matter what is the result of the extension request , you should always keep copy and proof of all paperwork and communication you did with USCIS this will be useful for your future visa need for future US trip.

If my request to stay past my initial period of admission was denied by the CIS, how long do I have before I have to leave the U.S.?

The CIS generally allows you 30 days to depart the U.S. starting from the date on the letter notifying you of their decision to deny an extension. If you do not depart within 30 days, you will be considered deportable. The CIS cautions that if you are refused permission to extend your stay, you may encounter problems with Consulates overseas the next time you apply for a U.S. visa because their computer records will indicate that you did not leave the U.S. within the time frame of your initial period of entry. Be sure to keep your rejection letter and proof of the date of your departure (a boarding pass is the best thing, but passport stamps showing entry into another country is also helpful) to give the consulate the next time you apply for a new visa. Having those may mitigate your apparent overstay and could improve your chances of renewing your visa without the five year restriction usually applied to people that have overstayed their visit.
Source : US Customs official website

I have a B1-B2 visa and I want to extend my stay, Should I apply for Visa extension OR just go to Canada Or Mexico and re-enter, will I get anew I-94 with 6 months?

B1 and B2 visas are usually issued for a term of 10 years. Each visit may last up to six months, although some categories of visitors may apply to extend their visit for an additional 6 months. During your visit to the U.S., you may visit Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean islands (not Cuba)for up to 30 days and re-enter the U.S. as long as you re-enter within the period noted on the Form I - 94 which you received when you first entered.
For instance, if you come to the U.S. on July 10, 2005 on a B2 Visitor Visa, you may go to Canada and/or Mexico on or after November 10, and reenter the U.S. any time up until December 10. But because the six month period is up on December 10, 2005, you will also have to depart from the U.S. on that same day to avoid being an "overstay" (unless you applied for an extension of stay.)

Read more : Visiting Mexico or Canada on US visa FAQ

How Long you can stay after applying for visa extension?

If USICS receive your application before your status expires (or, in exceptional cases, we excuse filing after your status expires due to circumstances beyond your control), and if you have not violated the terms of your status and meet the basic eligibility requirements, then you may continue your previously approved activities in the U.S.( including previously authorized work, for a period of up to 240 days), until we make a decision on your application or until the reason for your requested extension has been accomplished- whichever comes first.
[ Source : USCIS ]

What if I file on time for visa extension, but I leave the America before USCIS makes a decision on my application?


If you leave the US before a decision is made on your application to extend and you plan to return to the U.S. in the future, please keep a copy of your application plus the receipt notice to show to the Immigration Inspector on your return travel to the U.S. Otherwise, you may be denied entry for overstaying on your last visit.
[ Source: USCIS]

Note: If you got the visa extension approved successfully, you will get a new I-94 attached to the approval letter. You must make a copy of this letter. When leaving USA you should give this new I-94 to the airline check-in counter along with the old/earlier I-94.

Tips

  • Do not apply for the extension immediately after arriving into USA, USCIS officials might take it as a pre-planned act.
  • Remember: The date of expiry of your stay limit is the date on the I-94 form tag attached to your passport, and not the date stamped on your visa.

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