I AM A NONIMMIGRANT.
HOW DO I EXTEND MY NONIMMIGRANT VISA STATUS IN THE UNITED STATES?
To consult an immigration lawyer, please call us at (626) 642-8066
or email us at email@example.com.
An attorney in our office would be happy to assist you.
visas are issued to foreign citizens who intend to remain in the United
States for, depending on the particular nonimmigrant classification,
a temporary or otherwise less than permanent period of time. Prior to
your admission to the US, an immigration officer at a US Port of Entry,
examined your immigration documentation and, in most cases, issued you
a Form I-94 or I-94W, Arrival/Departure Record when you were admitted.
The I-94 or I-94W shows your nonimmigrant status and the length of time
you can legally remain in the US pursuant to that admission.
Note that the I-94 or I-94W shows how long you are permitted to remain
in the US and not your nonimmigrant visa, if a visa was required for
you. A visa only shows when and how many times you can come and seek
admission to the US from abroad pursuant to the particular classification
listed on your visa.
The immigration authorities understand that you may wish to remain
in the US for a period longer than originally planned.
How do I know if I am eligible to extend my stay in the US?
You may apply for an extension of stay in the US if:
• You were lawfully admitted into the US as a nonimmigrant;
• You have not committed any act that would make you ineligible
to receive an immigration benefit; and
• There is no other factor that, in the sole discretion of an
immigration officer, would warrant requiring you to depart the US prior
to making a reentry pursuant to the same classification. For example,
an immigration officer may determine for any number of reasons that
you should obtain a new visa prior to being readmitted into the US;
• You submit an application for an extension of stay before the
expiration date on your Form I-94. There are certain very limited circumstances
under which USCIS will excuse a late filing of such an application.
Please note: Your passport must be valid for your entire requested
period of stay in the US.
How do I know if I am not eligible to extend my stay in eligible
to extend my stay in the US?
If you were admitted in any of the following nonimmigrant categories
shown on your I-94, you will not be able to extend your stay in the
C (Alien in Transit)
K1 Fiancee or K-2 Dependent of Fiancee
S (Witness or Informant beyond a total of three years)
Q2 (Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Visitor beyond
a total of three years or beyond a total of two years if initially admitted
on or after December 10, 2004)
TWOV (Transit Without Visa)
WT or WB (Visa Waiver Program, you would have been issued a green Form
Please note: If you are in any of the above categories, you must depart
the US on or before the date your I-94 expires.
How do I apply to extend my stay in the US?
How you apply for an extension of stay depends upon your nonimmigrant
If you are in one of the following employment-related categories, your
employer should file an I-129 petition for nonimmigrant worker before
your Form I-94 expires:
E1 Treaty Trader or E2
H2B or H3 (Temporary Workers)
L1A or L1B (Intracompany Transferee)
O1 or O2 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability)
P1, P2 or P3 (Athletes and Entertainers)
Q1 (International Cultural Exchange Visitors)
R1 (Religious Workers)
TN (Canadians and Mexicans under NAFTA)
Each of the above categories has specific requirements and limits,
including limits on length of stay in this country.
Please note: If your employer files I-129 petition to extend your status,
and your husband or wife and/or unmarried children under age 21 also
want to extend their status, they will need to file an I-539 application
to extend or change nonimmigrant status. They can all be included on
one I-539 application. It is best to file the I-129 and I-539 together,
so that they may be adjudicated on or about the same time.
If you are in the following nonimmigrant categories, you should file
a I-539 application to extend your stay:
A3 (Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of Diplomatic and other
Government Officials and Immediate Family)
B1 and B2 (Visitors for Business or Tourism)
E (Treaty Traders and Investors dependents)
G5 (Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of Foreign Government Officials and Immediate Family)
H4 (Temporary Worker dependents)
K3 Spouse of US Citizen and K4 Minor Child Accompanying or Following
L2 (Intracompany Transferee Dependents)
M (Vocational Students and Dependents)
N (Parents and Children of Certain People who Have Been Granted Special
NATO-7 (Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of NATO Representatives,
Officials, Employees and Immediate Family Members)
O3 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability Dependents)
P4 (Athletes and Entertainer Dependents)
R2 (Religious Worker Dependents)
All “V” categories (Certain Second-Preference Beneficiaries)
TD (TN Dependents)
Please note: All family members (husband or wife and unmarried children
under 21) in the same category currently can be included on one Form
Can I get an extension of stay if my status already expired?
If your status expired before you filed an application with USCIS to
extend your stay in the US or if you have otherwise violated the terms
of your status, such as by working without authorization, then you are
out of status. If you have fallen out of status, except in certain limited
instances related to circumstances beyond your control, the USCIS may
not be able to extend your nonimmigrant stay. Staying longer than the
period of time for which you were granted admission may also have a
negative effect on your ability to get other benefits to return to the
US at a later time.
When should I file and how long will it take to process my
Our processing times can vary. You can check the current processing
times at http://bccvisalaw.com/ins-processing.php. You should apply
no later than 60 days prior to your I-94 expiring. You may also apply
up to six months before your I-94 expires to have your stay extended.
If I am eligible for an extension of stay and file on time,
will my stay be extended?
An extension of stay is not automatic. The USCIS will look at your
situation, your status, the reasons you want to extend your stay, and
will decide whether to grant your application; if the USCIS grants it,
they will also decide how long they will extend your stay.
What if I file on time but USCIS doesn’t make a decision
before my I-94 expires?
If the USCIS received your application before your status expires,
and if you have not violated the terms of your status, and you meet
the basic eligibility requirements, then you may continue your previously
approved activities in the US, including previously authorized work,
for a period of up to 240 days, or until the USCIS makes a decision
on your application or until the reason for your requested extension
has been accomplished – whichever comes first.
Further, once your original nonimmigrant status expires, even though
you generally will be allowed to remain in the US while your extension
of stay application is pending. You will not be deemed to be in any
nonimmigrant status until such time as the USCIS may approve your extension
If your application for extension is denied after your previously approved
stay has already expired and while you are still in the US, you will
be considered to have been “out of status” as of the date
your period of stay expired, and will be required to cease employment,
(if such employment was authorized and depart from the US immediately
upon denial of your application. In addition, any nonimmigrant visa
in your passport granted in connection with such classification becomes
void at the end of the period of authorized
stay. Once your visa is void, you will be required to submit any new
visa application at a US consulate in your home country (not a third
country, except in rare instances as determined by the State Department).
THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED LEGAL
ADVICE. SUCH INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO EDUCATE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
GENERALLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS.
READERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO ATTEMPT TO SOLVE INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS
ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN AND ARE STRONGLY ADVISED
TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION LAWYER REGARDING SPECIFIC
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