It often happens – a person enters the United States of America with a US Visa applicable for a limited period of time but later he or she decides to stay for a longer period. If you are in a similar kind of situation and want to apply for visa extension while you are still in USA and your visa period is going to end soon, you can do that by following a specific procedure, which will mainly depend on which type of Visa you are holding. There are certain eligibility requirements that you must fulfill in order to get extension. There are different criteria for different types of visa. The procedure described below is applicable for B1/B2 visa (visitor’s visa).
Complete The Form I-539
If you want to extend your stay in the United States of America, you will have to fill out the Form I-539. You can get the form for visa extension from the USCIS office. Alternatively, you can visit their official website and download the form on your PC and then get it printed on paper. You must complete the form legibly. Make sure that the details you are providing are accurate to the best of your knowledge. You also need to sign the application appropriately.
Gather Necessary Documents
You will be required to send certain documents along with your application.
You can provide an affidavit from a friend or relative who is a US citizen or at least a legal alien working in the country with a decent employment record. Alternatively, you can provide a letter from the employer of your friend or relative as a proof of employment. You will also need to attach copies of all the pages of your passport (your passport has to be a valid one issued by your native country). Other documents include a copy of your valid 1-94 card (its expiration date must still be at least 4-6 weeks away). What is more, you can provide more strength to your visa extension application by attaching a copy of your air tickets from US to your country.
Pay The Fee
You will also need to pay a certain amount of fee as part of the application process. For this, you need to enclose a check or money order payable to the USCIS. The fee is likely to change anytime. You are recommended to contact the USCIS office in your area to get accurate detail about it.
Write A Detailed Covering Letter
You also need to attach a detailed covering letter along with your application. This letter must explain the reason of your longer stay in the country. The reason has to be a genuine one and you must have sufficient proofs and evidences in support of your claim.
Send The Application
Once you are ready with everything, you can send the application along with all the documents and the covering letter to the USCIS office (for example, ‘USCIS California Service Center’ in California) as a priority mail via USPS. It is better if you also attach a return receipt request. In any case, you must not forget to keep copies of everything with you. You may need them in emergency situation when something goes wrong, such as when your mail doesn’t reach the USCIS office in time.
Receive A Receipt From USCIS
Though USCIS may take anywhere from four to six weeks of time to process your application for visa extension, they will immediately send you a receipt. As long as you have that receipt, you will have the legal right to stay in the country. So, make sure you keep it safe. With this receipt in your hand, you can stay in the US even after both your visa and I-94 card have crossed the expiration date.
Receive A Final Notice From USCIS
The USCIS will notify you via mail whether your application has got rejected or approved. If it is rejected, you will have no other option but to leave the country as soon as possible. If approved, a new I-94 card will be issued in your name. You must get this card stapled with your passport.
Overall, if you have a genuine reason to extend your stay in the USA and also have the proof and evidence in this regard, your application for visa extension is likely to be approved provided you follow the procedure properly as described above.