Extension
adjustment

nonimmigation

How do I extend/adjust my nonimmigrant stay in the United States?

     Nonimmigrant visas are issued by the U.S. Department of State to foreign nationals who intend to remain in the United States for a temporary period. The period varies for different nonimmigrant classifications.

     Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to remain in the United States for a temporary (less than permanent) period. The period varies for different nonimmigrant categories. There are more than 40  nonimmigrant U.S. visa categories; each is used for a different, but very specific purpose.

Arrival-Departure Record

I-94 Form

     In the past, foreign nationals were provided with a paper Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, upon admission to the United States showing the date of admission, class of admission, and admitted-until date. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has automated the Form I-94 arrival-departure record at air and sea ports of entry. This automated system will create an electronically generated arrival-departure record with all the data elements found on the paper form. A paper I-94 will no longer be issued. You will instead be provided with a CBP admission stamp in your travel document. If you need a copy of your I-94 record of admission, it can be obtained at www.cbp.gov/I94. A paper I-94 will still be issued at land border ports of entry.

     The admissions stamp in your travel document or the I-94/I-94W shows your nonimmigrant status and the length of time you can legally remain in the United States. Note that the admissons stamp in your travel document or the I-94/I-94W shows how long you are permitted to remain in the United States, but your nonimmigrant visa (if a visa was issued) does not. A visa only shows when and how many times you may seek admission to the United States from abroad based on the classification noted on your visa.

      We understand that you may wish to remain in the United States longer than you originally planned. This customer guide contains information about how to apply for an extension of your stay in the United States to continue the same activities permitted when you were first admitted to this country.

Application to Extend/Adjust

I-539 Form

     If you want to extend your stay in the United States, you must file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the 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. We recommend that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires.

You may apply to 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

     Or, if you want to change the purpose of your visit while in the United States, you (or in some cases your employer) must file a request with USCIS on the appropriate form before your authorized stay expires. For instance, if you arrived here as a tourist but want to become a student, you must submit an application to change your status. We recommend that you apply as soon as you determine that you need to change to a different nonimmigrant category.

     In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant status remains valid, you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible.

Extend/adjust Nonimmigrant Status

Elegible

     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. We recommend that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires. There are some nonimmigrant categories that cannot be extended. To change the purpose of your visit while in the United States, you (or in some cases your employer) must file a request with USCIS on the appropriate form before your authorized period of stay expires.

You may apply to 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; and
  • Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay.

Extend b1/b2

     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 of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa).
adjust to f1

     You may not apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

  • Visa Waiver Program (VWP), 
  • Crew member (D nonimmigrant),
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV),
  • Certain spouses of U.S. citizens or dependent children (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant),
  • Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant),
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant)
  • Vocational student (M-1) to an Academic student (F-1 nonimmigrant or any H status (Temporary Worker).
  • International exchange visitor (J-1 nonimmigrant), if you were admitted to the United States to receive graduate medical training, unless you receive a special waiver, or are an exchange visitor and are required to meet the foreign residence requirement, unless you receive a waiver.
i-539 form

application

  • Complete the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Review the form instructions for directions on completing the Form I-539.
  • Submit the Filing Fee(s). Include the appropriate filing fee with the Form I-539 and biometric services fee (if applicable). Refer to the Form I-539 instructions for further details. 
  • Submit evidence. Include all required initial evidence and supporting documentation for the Form I-539.
  • Sign and file the Form I-539. File the application at the correct filing location according to form instructions or electronically (if your category is eligible to e-file).

Note: All family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) in the same category can be included on one Form I-539.

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The information, templates, forms, tips, and tools provided in and through JL Recruitment & Consulting, LLC is not legal advice. JL Recruitment & Consulting, LLC is not a law firm and the employees and contractors (including attorneys, if any) of JL Recruitment & Consulting, LLC are not acting as your attorneys, and none of them are a substitute for the advice of your own attorney or law firm licensed to practice law in your state or home country.