Instructions on extending your status from USCIS

If you want to extend your stay in the United States, you must file a request with USCIS on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your authorized stay expires. If you remain in the United States longer than authorized, you may be barred from returning and/or you may be removed (deported) from the United States. Check the date in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to determine the date your authorized stay expires. USCIS recommends that you apply for extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires.

You may extend your stay if:

  • You were lawfully admitted into the United States with a Nonimmigrant Visa
  • Your Nonimmigrant Visa status remains valid
  • You have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa
  • You have not violated the conditions of your admission
  • Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay

You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

  • Visa Waiver Program
  • Crew Member (D Nonimmigrant Visa)
  • In transit through the United States (C Nonimmigrant Visa)
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
  • Fiancé(e) of a US Citizen or dependent of a Fiancé(e) (K Nonimmigrant Visa)
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S Nonimmigrant Visa)

Documents required for Application to Extend Nonimmigrant Visa Status

  • –          Completed Form I-539
  • –          A declaration or affidavit supporting the reason for the requested extension
  • –          Proof of financial support during this extended stay
  • –          Copy of return tickets as proof of temporary stay intentions
  • –          Visitor Visa (B1/B2) extension fee of $290.00
  • –          Copy of Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record


What to expect after filing the application

Once you file the Nonimmigrant Visa extension application, USCIS will send you a receipt with a receipt number (13 digits). This will serve as your case number. The approximate processing time will be indicated on the receipt. It can take a few weeks to months to process your case.

USCIS allows you to stay in the US for 240 days after the expiration date on your Form I-94, provided you have filed for extension of your stay before your Form I-94 expired and your application is still under review.

You can check your case status on or by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283

If Nonimmigrant Visa extension is approved

If your application for an extension is approved you will be issued a replacement I-94 with a new departure date. Make a copy of this Approval Notice and I-94 to keep for your records; these will be useful for future entry to the US.

If Nonimmigrant Visa extension is denied

If your Nonimmigrant Visa extension is rejected or denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will then be required to leave the United States immediately.

Consequences of overstaying in the United States

For anyone who overstays on a US Nonimmigrant Visa, consequences are usually incurred. These could include:

  • –          Being found inadmissible at a Port of Entry and denied entry into the US
  • –          Facing deportation or removal proceedings for not leaving on time
  • –          Being barred for 3, 5 or 10 years from entering the United States

Since the time taken for the approval is not known, the best thing a person should do is to keep the travel plan ready based on the original Form I-94 dates. This way if you don’t receive an extension you are not at fear of receiving unlawful presence or an overstay and avoid future legal problems in the United States.

Regardless of what the result of the extension of status request, you should always keep copies and proof of all paperwork and communication with USCIS for future visa requests with the United States Government.

Editor: Graham Post

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One comment

  1. USCIS has updated the Form I-539 with changes including Expiration date changed, Revision date changed and Bar code changed.

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