If you are in United States of America With a non-immigrant visa (you come as a tourist or for work) and want to stay longer, here we explain how the process works. Even if you plan to visit in the future, this information can be useful if, once in the country, you decide to extend your stay.
If you entered the United States legally, you did so with an extension B1 . visa (work) or a B2 . visa (tourism). Both can be extended. For this you must fill in Form I-539 from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You must first make sure you meet these requirements:
1. You entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa.
2. You do not have a criminal record or have committed a crime in violation of non-immigrant status.
3. Your stay has not expired.
To know that your stay is not over yet Don’t look at the visa stampThe important date is the date you refer to I-94 card.
What is an I-94 card? This is what the immigration agent gives you at the point of entry (airport, for example) into the country. This document indicates the date of your arrival and Also the date you should leave the United States. You must request an extension before this date: otherwise, your legal residence will end. You better do 45 days ago. If it does not, you will have to prove that:
1. The delay in submitting the petition was reasonable and was due to unavoidable circumstances.
2. You have never violated the terms of your visa (for example, if you were a tourist, you did not work).
3. Remain a bona fide non-immigrant.
4. You are not in the process of deportation.
In other words, if you do not start the process at least 45 days before your departure date, you will find yourself in a mess that is best avoided.
Now that you know that you have not failed to comply with the requirements to extend your visit, let’s continue this process.
You must submit the form I-535: Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status. A non-immigrant is anyone who entered the United States without the intention of immigrating. It must be the person who entered on a nonimmigrant visa, ie you, who is applying.
You will also have to explain the reason and the extension and you should include a list of the places you will visit. You should continue with the same intentions and activities that you reported at the beginning of the trip. Within the same visa extension application, you can include all your family members (wife and children under 21 years of age).
If you do not submit your application before your date of departure from the country, staying in the United States leaves you unregistered. Your visa will be canceled and, depending on your status and how long you have been without status, you will be denied entry on future trips. This happens even if only 24 hours have passed since your I-94 residency expired.
Failure to comply with your visa requirements can be punished with up to three to 10 years of inadmissibility. If that happens, you’ll need to ask for forgiveness to be able to come back, and that’s another problem you don’t want to go through.
With information from USCIS. This note does not constitute or replace legal advice.