Lim Law – Orlando & Central Florida Immigration Attorney
Applying for U.S. Visa Extensions
The Department of State issues nonimmigrant visas to many foreign nationals seeking a temporary stay in the United States. The length of time you are permitted to stay depends on your nonimmigrant visa classification, but in many cases, you can apply for an extension of your stay.
When you enter the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection creates a Form I-94, your Arrival-Departure Record. If you enter the country by land, you will receive a paper copy; at air and sea border entry points, this form has been automated.
You will also receive an admissions stamp in your travel document showing your nonimmigrant status and the length of time you can legally remain in the United States.
If you wish to extend your stay, you may apply for an extension provided that you meet certain requirements, including:
- You legally entered the United States with a nonimmigrant visa.
- You have not committed any act that makes you ineligible for a visa extension, and no other factor, other than status, requires you to leave the U.S.
- Your passport is still valid and will remain valid throughout your stay.
- You submitted an application for extension of stay before the expiration date on your admissions stamp/Form I-94.
If you hold any of the following visa statuses, you may not apply for a visa extension:
- Admitted under a visa waiver program
- In transit through the U.S. (C status), or Transit Without Visa (TWOV status)
- Crew Member (D status)
- Fiance(e) or dependent of a fiance (K-1/K-2 status)
- Witness or informant on terrorism or organized crime (S status)
If you entered the US under any of the multiple employment-based visa categories, your employer needs to file for extension before the expiration date on your admissions stamp/ Form I-94.
If your spouse and/or unmarried children under age 21 also want to extend their stay, they must file separate applications.
You should apply no later than 60 days before your Form I-94 expires, but be aware that extensions are not automatically approved, and processing times vary depending on the classification.
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