How To Extend a Visitor Visa

If you wish to stay in the United States longer than time originally granted with your B-2 visitor visa, you may be able to extend your stay by up to six months. You must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Check your passport or Form I-94 to see the date you must leave the U.S. You can check your Form I-94 on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Do You Qualify to Extend Your Visitor Visa?

You can apply to extend your stay if:

  • You legally entered the United States with a nonimmigrant visa
  • Your nonimmigrant visa status is still valid
  • You have not committed a crime that makes you ineligible for a visa
  • The conditions of your admission to the U.S. have not been violated
  • Your passport is still valid and will stay valid through your requested extended stay

You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the country under one of the following categories:

  • Visa Waiver Program
  • TWOV (Transit Without Visa)
  • C nonimmigrant visa (alien in transit through the U.S.)
  • D nonimmigrant visa (crew member)
  • K nonimmigrant visa (fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé)
  • S nonimmigrant visa (informant or witness on terrorism or organized crime)

When Should You File Form I-539?

You must file Form I-539 before your authorized stay expires. It is recommended that you file at least 45 days before this date. You should not, however, file for this extension within three months of originally coming to the U.S. Otherwise, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may determine that you were lying about your expected stay when you first declared it at the consulate or port of entry.

If you were not able to file Form I-539 before your visa expired, you will likely not be granted an extension of stay. However, if there were unforeseen circumstances that prevented you from filing on time, explain precisely why in your application and include any relevant documentation.


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