1. What is Extension of Stay?
Providing permission to foreign nationals holding a nonimmigrant visa in the U.S. to extend their stay in the U.S. is called Extension of Stay.
2. Why do I need to extend my nonimmigrant status?
As a nonimmigrant you temporarily enter into the U.S. for a specific purpose such as business, study, or pleasure. When you enter the country as a nonimmigrant, a U.S. immigration inspector examines your passport and visa and gives you the Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Document). This document tells you (in the lower right-hand corner) when you must leave the U.S. In order to extend your stay in the U.S., you must ask for permission from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized stay expires.
3. Who is eligible for Extension of Stay?
You may be eligible to extend your stay in the U.S. if:
- You have lawfully entered into the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa
- Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
- You have not committed any crime that would make you ineligible for an extension
Note: You must submit your Extension of Stay application BEFORE your current authorized stay expires. You must also keep your passport valid for your entire stay in the U.S.
4. Who is not eligible for Extension of Stay?
You may not apply to extend your stay if you have entered into the U.S. under the following visa categories:
You may not change your nonimmigrant status if you have entered into the U.S. under the following visa categories:
VWPP-Visa Waiver Pilot Program (or the Guam Visa Waiver Program)
D- As a crewman
C- As an alien in transit or in transit without a visa
K– As a fiance or spouse of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiance or spouse
S- As an informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime
5. How do I apply for Extension of Stay?
If you are in the following categories of nonimmigrants, your employer should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and any supporting documents:
E– International Traders and Investors
H– Temporary workers
L– Intra company transferees
O– Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
P– IEntertainers and Athletes
Q– Participants in International Exchange Programs
R– Religious workers
TN– Canadians and Mexicans under NAFTA
If you are in the following nonimmigrant categories, you should carefully read and complete Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and submit any supporting documents:
A- Diplomatic and other government officials, and their dependants and employees
B– Temporary visitors for business or pleasure
F– Academic students and their dependants
G- Representatives to international organizations and their dependants and employees
I– Representatives of foreign media and their dependants
J– Exchange visitors and their dependants
M– Vocational students and their dependants
N- Parents and children of people who have been granted special immigrant status because their parents were employed by an international organization in the U.S.
6. When do I fall out-of-status?
As a foreign national in the U.S., you will fall out-of-status if you:
- Stay beyond your authorized period of stay
- Accept unauthorized employment
- Take any other action that is not consistent with the terms of your admission
7. When do I apply for Extension of Stay in USA?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends that you file your Extension of Stay application at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires. The USCIS Service Center must receive your application by the day your authorized stay expires.
8. What happens if I apply for Extension of Stay after my authorized stay in the U.S. has expired?
If you are late in 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 reasonable
- You have not done anything else to violate your nonimmigrant status (such as work without United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approval)
- You are still a nonimmigrant. (This means you are not trying to become a permanent resident of the U.S. There are some exceptions.)
- You are not in formal proceedings to remove or deport you from the country
9. How do I get another Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Document, if the original is submitted with my Extension of Stay application?
If your Extension of Stay application is approved, you will be issued a new Form I-94 with a new departure date. If your application is denied, your original Form I-94 will be returned with a request for your immediate departure.
10. How do my dependants apply for Extension of Stay?
If your employer files Form I-129, Petition for Alien Worker, for you, then your dependants must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and submit any required supporting documents to extend their stay.
If you are filing Form I-539 for your own extension, you may include your dependants (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.
11. Who is eligible for Extension of Stay on J-1 visa?
You are eligible to extend your stay on J-1 visa if you:
- Are studying full-time at the school mentioned on your Form DS-2019 and making satisfactory academic progress and have adequate funding
- The length of the delay was reasonable
- Have completed your program of study and wish to participate in an Academic Training Program
- Are participating in an authorized Academic Training program and, within the established time limits, need an extension to finish the program
12. How do I apply for Extension of Stay on J-1 visa?
To extend your stay in the U.S. on J-1 visa, you must first obtain a new Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, from your J-1 Responsible Officer, who will need proof of your eligibility before issuing the Form.
13. How do my dependants on J-2 status apply for Extension of Stay?
The J-2 status of your dependants is automatically extended for any dependents included in your extension request based on your Extension of Stay application. However, extension of Work Authorization for J-2 dependents must be applied for directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).