You need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status to extend your B2 Visa. People entering US for temporary period are issued non-immigrant visa B1 for business and B2 for leisure, tourism or medical treatment. This is also known as Visitor visa, which is issued for 6 months, but the USCIS can extend your B2 Visa for a maximum period of another 6 months. At the port of entry, in spite of the visa being stamped for six months, the immigration officer decides on the time a visitor is permitted to stay in US, and that date is the one that will be entered on the I-94 card.
Extension B2 Visa Process
Before your legal period of stay is over, you have to file Form I-539 at USCIS for extension B2 visa. USCIS will decide whether this extension will be granted to you or not as they need to be sure that you do not intend to stay in US forever. If you over stay in US, you may be deported back to your country and prevented from entering the US again.
Appropriate Time to Apply for an Extension B2 Visa
The date of expiration on the I-94 card will determine how long you can stay in US and not the expiry date on the visa stamp. According to USCIS recommendation, you can file for extension before the I-94 card expires, so that you do not stay illegally in US. It must also be noted that you should not apply for extension of B2 visa, within 3 months from your entry into the US, as USCIS will consider this to be your plan before entering US, which might be different from what you said at the port of entry.
Points to be Kept in Mind While Requesting an Extension B2 Visa
The long process of applying for an extension, cannot be avoided by visiting adjacent countries or nearby islands and coming back to get a new I-94. Rather, you will have to move out of North America and return to get your I-94. The maximum period of extension can be for up to 6 months and maximum time a person can live in US on B2 visa is 1 year, as there is a limit to the number of times you can apply for an extension B2 visa.
Grounds for Late Filing
If your legal duration of stay in US is over and you are applying late for an extension, you need to establish that:
- The delay in applying is reasonable,
- Extraordinary situations beyond your control led to the delay,
- You are not subject to legal measures to deport you from the US.
- You have abided by the law in maintaining your non-immigrants status.
- You or somebody on behalf on you has not filled an immigrant visa petition.
Criteria for Applying for an Extension
You can file for an extension B2 visa if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You legally entered US with a non-immigrant visa
- You have a valid reason to request an extension
- You are not involved in any criminal activity
- Your non-immigrant status holds validity
- You did not violate any conditions at the time of admission
- Your passport remains valid for the duration of your stay
- You can provide proof of economic support for your extended stay.
- You can provide proof of specific intention of leaving US, when the purpose of the extended visit is over.
Documents Required to File Extension B2 Visa
- A letter asserting the reason behind the requested extension
- Completed I-539 form
- Evidence of financial support
- As testimony of your intention to stay temporarily, copy of return tickets
- Payment of fees for visa extension, inclusive of the fees for every person included in the application
- Original I-94 card or photocopy of I-94 card for every applicant
- Proof that you have a passport that is valid for the duration of your stay.
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