It can be difficult to navigate U.S. immigration policies, particularly regarding visa extensions. B1 and B2 visas, also referred to as visitor visas, are nonimmigrant visas for brief entry into the United States for business (B1) or tourism, leisure, or visiting (B2).
You must follow certain procedures if you are in the United States on a B1 or B2 visa and wish to extend your stay. This article will guide you through the B1/B2 visa extension procedure.
Eligibility for a B1/B2 Visa Extension
Ensure you satisfy the eligibility requirements for visa extension before beginning the application process. You are qualified if:
- You entered the United States lawfully with a nonimmigrant visa; Your nonimmigrant visa status is still valid
- You have not committed any offences that disqualify you from receiving a visa
- You have not violated the admissions condition
- Your passport is valid and will continue to be valid throughout your stay
To request a visa extension, you must submit Form I-539, Change of Nonimmigrant Status, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The form can be downloaded from the official USCIS website.
Complete all sections of the form by attentively following the instructions. Verify that all the information is accurate and complete, as fraudulent statements or omissions may result in your application being rejected or delayed.
Payment of the Filing Fee
The filing fee for Form I-539 is $370 as of September 2021, but fees are subject to change, so it is essential to verify the current fee on the USCIS website. There may be additional biometric expenses.
Send Your Application
Send your completed Form I-539, filing fee, and any required supporting documents to the address specified in the form instructions. As USCIS processing times fluctuate, it is advisable to submit your application well before your current visa’s expiration date. USCIS recommends submitting at least 45 days before the expiration of your stay.
Await a Choice
After submitting your application, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. It is essential to stay within your authorised length of stay before your application has been approved. If your application is denied, you should promptly prepare to depart the United States to avoid overstaying your visa.
Maintaining your legal status in the United States includes the following:
- Knowing your visa’s expiration date.
- Understanding your eligibility.
- Properly completing and submitting Form I-539.
- Waiting for a decision.
Understanding how to extend your B1/B2 visa is not just about extending your stay but also about respecting and abiding by U.S. immigration laws, ensuring your future ability to visit.
Even after completing these stages, you may still have concerns or questions regarding the procedure. A frequent inquiry is, “What if my visa expires while my extension is still being processed?” If USCIS receives your application before the end of your authorised stay and you have not violated the terms of your visa, you may legally remain in the United States pending a decision.
Importantly, an extension does not guarantee future entry into the United States. Customs & Border Protection officers determine each entry.
Additionally, even if your extension is granted, it does not extend the duration of your visa. The visa is the sticker deposited in your passport by a U.S. consulate abroad, whereas your status is determined by CBP or USCIS within the United States.
In conclusion, although the process may appear complicated, grasping these nuances can alleviate your concerns and facilitate a more seamless visa extension process.
Remember that obtaining a B1/B2 visa extension is not guaranteed. It is up to USCIS’s discretion based on the evidence you provide. If you are uncertain about the procedure, you can contact Visa Applications for support.