to Extend Your Non-Immigrant Visa Status in the United
How do I extend my stay?
You Need to Extend Your Nonimmigrant Status?
A nonimmigrant temporarily
enters the United States for a specific purpose such
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).
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
For the following categories
of nonimmigrants, your employer should carefully read
and file a CIS Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant
Worker) and any supporting documentation:
- E - International Traders
- H - Temporary Workers
- L - Intracompany Transferees
- O - Aliens of Extraordinary
- P - Entertainers and Athletes
- Q - Participants in International
- R - Religious Workers
- TN - Canadians and Mexicans
If you are
in the following nonimmigrant categories, you should
carefully read and complete USCIS Form I-539 (Application
to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) and submit any
required supporting documents:
- A - Diplomatic and other government
officials, and their families and employees.
- B - Temporary visitors for
business or pleasure.
- F - Academic Students and their
- G - Representatives to international
organizations and their families and employees.
- I - Representatives of foreign
media and their families
- J - Exchange Visitors and their
- M - Vocational Students and
- N - Parents and children of
the people who have been granted special immigrant
status because their parents were employed by
an international organization in the United States.
and correct fee should be mailed to the USCIS Service
Center that serves the area where you are temporarily
staying. If your nonimmigrant category is work-related,
then the application and correct fee should be mailed
to the USCIS Service Center that serves the area where
you will work. Forms are available by calling 1-800-870-3676,
or by submitting a request through our forms by mail
My Spouse and Child Apply to Extend Their Stay in
the United States?
If your employer files
USCIS Form I-129 (Petition for Alien Worker) for you,
then your spouse and child must carefully read and
complete USCIS Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change
Nonimmigrant Status) and submit any required supporting
documents to extend their stay. It is best to submit
both forms at the same time.
If you are
filing USCIS Form I-539 for your own extension, you
may include your spouse and any unmarried children
under the age of 21 in your application if you are
all in the same nonimmigrant category. You may also
include your spouse or children in your application
if they were given derivative nonimmigrant status.
This means that your spouse and children were given
nonimmigrant visas based on your nonimmigrant status.
For instance, if a student is given an F-1 "Academic
Student" visa, then the spouse and child are given
F-2 "Spouse and Child of an Academic Student" visas.
We 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.
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
- 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
- You are not in formal proceedings
to remove (deport) you from the country.
I Find Out About the Status of My Application?
Contact the USCIS office
that received your application. You should be prepared
to provide the USCIS staff with specific information
about your application. Click here for instructions
on checking the status of your application. Click
here for information on USCIS offices.
I Get Another Form I-94 "Arrival/Departure Document"
If the Original Was Submitted With the Application
to Extend My Stay?
If your application
for an extension is approved, you will be issued a
replacement I-94 with a new departure date. If your
application is denied, your original I-94 will be
returned with a request for your immediate departure.
If your application
to extend your stay is denied, you will receive a
letter that will tell you why the application was
denied. You will not be allowed to appeal a negative
decision to a higher authority. However, you may submit
a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with
the same office that made the unfavorable decision.
By filing these motions, you may ask the office to
reexamine or reconsider their decision. A motion to
reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided
in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied
by affidavits or other documentary evidence. A motion
to reconsider must establish that the decision was
based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS
policy, and further establish that the decision was
incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the
time the decision was made.