People enter United States with B1/B2 Visa for business purposes or for pleasure. The B1 Visa (Business Visa) is issued along with the B2 Visa (Tourist Visa). Most people who visit United States with a Tourist Visa may file an Extension Tourist Visa application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The Extension Tourist Visa may or may not be granted. The decision of the petition depends on the USCIS. Granting the extension depends on the reason for the stay and whether the applicant will return to his or her home country at the end of the extended period of stay.
Extension Tourist Visa application must be filed between 4 to 6 weeks prior to the expiration of the I-94 card. The I-94 card is issued at the point of entry from a Customs and Border Protection officer that indicates the date of arrival and also the date the applicant must leave United States. Applicants must not consider the date on the Visa Stamp as the date is irrelevant. The date on the I-94 card will only be considered. As long as a person applies for the extension of stay before the expiration date on the I-94 card, the person will be in legal status.
Extending Nonimmigrant Status Using Form I-539
The Extension Tourist Visa application must be filed with the USCIS using Form I 539, Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status by the person who has entered United States with a non immigrant visa. The applicant with a Tourist Visa, who wishes to extend the stay, must provide the reason for the extension and must also include the list of places he or she will be visiting.
Form I 539 must be filed before the expiration of the authorized stay in the United States. The immigration law instructs the applicant to file the form at least 45 days before the stay expires. If that is not done, the applicant must prove that:
- The delay in filing the petition is reasonable
- The delay was due to unavoidable circumstances
- They have not violated their status in any manner
- They are still a bona-fide non-immigrant
- They are not in removal proceedings
A person may file Form I 539 to extend his or her stay only when he or she has entered United States lawfully with a non-immigrant visa which is still valid, who does not have any criminal background and has not committed any other crime to violate the non-immigrant status. Immediate relatives of the applicant (Spouse and children under 21 years of age) may also be included in the application only if they are in the same status as that of the principal applicant.
Once the applicant submits the form to USCIS, it will be checked for completeness, inclusive of the supporting evidence. If USCIS finds the applicant eligible for extension, he or she will be granted an extension of stay in the United States. The period of extension will be determined by the USCIS based on the reason for the stay. Whatever the decision maybe, the applicant will be notified by a notification letter from the USCIS.