Can I Extend My Visa Once it Expires to Stay in the Country Longer?

If you are in the United States on a B1 or B2 visitor’s visa and it is about to expire, there are certain steps that you can take to stay in the country legally, for a bit longer. Visitor visa extensions are available under certain circumstances, and even if your application for an extension is denied, the mere fact of correctly submitting an application provides you with an additional 240 days in the United States without fear of removal.  Here is what you need to know about extending your stay in the United States on a Tourist or Business Visitor’s visa.

Though some visa holders do not have the option of extending their stay in the United States, those holding a B1 or B2 visa are able to submit Form I-539 requesting an extension if they meet the following criteria:

  • Must have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa
  • Visa must have remained valid throughout your stay
  • Must have a valid and legitimate reason for wanting to stay longer in keeping with the visa category that you were admitted under
  • Must not have committed any crimes that void eligibility for the visa
  • Must not have violated the conditions of your admission to the U.S.
  • Passport must be valid and remain so during the extension
  • Must have definite plans to leave the U.S. upon expiration of the extension
  • Must prove that you have the financial means to support yourself through the visa extension

As long as you meet these criteria you can submit the signed I-539 along with a cover letter explaining why you need the extension, proof of financial support, proof of return tickets, a copy of your original Form I-94 through which you entered the U.S., and the visa extension filing fee of $370. All this information can be submitted at a USCIS Lockbox or mailed directly to a USCIS address.

Once your application has been submitted you will receive confirmation and a receipt with a 13-digit case number to help you track your application’s status online or through the USCIS customer service phone line, 1-800-375-5283. Having this number as proof of your application allows you to stay in the country for 240 days after your visa’s expiration. If you are approved you will receive a replacement I-94 with a new departure date. Those who are denied will receive a letter with an explanation for why they were turned down. Denied applicants must leave the country immediately or face removal and be barred from reentry.

If you have questions or need assistance with this or any other immigration issue, contact our experienced attorneys today to set up a time to chat.