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.