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Tourist Visa Extension

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What Are the Requirements for a Tourist Visa Extension?

A tourist visa (B-2) is a visitor visa granted to foreign nationals coming to the United States (U.S.) for tourism, vacation, or medical reasons. They are usually granted for six months and can be extended for an additional six months with the approval of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

To apply for an extended stay, you must file Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) with the USCIS at least 45 days before your current tourist visa expires.

What Visa Types Are Not Eligible for a US Visa Extension?

Not all visa holders who may be in the U.S. for tourism can apply to extend their stay, including:

  • Individuals admitted into the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program
  • The fiancé of a U.S. citizen on a K non-immigrant visa
  • Crew members on a D nonimmigrant visa
  • Individuals who are in transit through the U.S. with a visa
  • Individuals who are in transit through the U.S. but are without a visa
  • Informants on terrorism or organized crime

Who Is Eligible to Apply for a Tourist Visa Extension?

Individuals may apply to extend their stay in the U.S. if:

  • They were lawfully admitted into the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa
  • Their nonimmigrant visa is currently valid
  • They are still eligible for their visa status
  • They have not committed any crime
  • They did not violate the conditions of their admission
  • Their passport is valid and will remain valid during their extended stay
  • They have a valid, legitimate reason to extend their stay under their visa category
  • They have definite plans to leave at the end of the proposed visa extension period
  • They have provided valid evidence of financial support

How long can you extend a tourist visa?

The length of time you can extend a tourist visa varies depending on your current nonimmigrant status and the terms of your initial C nonimmigrant visa or visa waiver program. Generally, the visitor visa extension application process involves submitting Form I-539 and a cover letter explaining the reason for the extension.

The extension process may grant you additional time, usually up to six months, beyond your initial departure date. However, not all categories of tourists are eligible to apply for an extension. It’s advisable to consult an immigration lawyer to understand your visa status and the application process better.

Failure to extend your status or leave immediately can result in complications with border protection and may affect your ability to return using future return tickets to your home country.

Applying for a Tourist Visa Extension

If you’re planning to extend your stay in the U.S. on a tourist visa, there are a few steps you need to take.

First, you’ll need to carefully complete all the sections of Form I-539 and attach all the required supporting documents. Next, you’ll need to pay the filing fee and biometric services fee. Once your extension application is submitted, the USCIS will issue you a receipt notice, and you’ll need to wait for a decision. Remember to apply well before your current tourist visa expires to avoid any issues.

Documents Required for a B2 Visitor Visa Extension

The following documents are typically required when applying for an extension of a B2 visitor visa:

  • Completed I-539 Form
  • A written statement on the reason for the requested extension
  • Proof of financial support during the extended stay
  • Copy of your return flight tickets showing proof of your intention to remain temporarily
  • Copy of Form I- 94 (DHS Arrival/Departure Record)

How Much Does It Cost to Extend Your Stay?

The B2 visa extension application fee is $370. In addition, individuals may have to pay a biometric fee of $85 based on their visa category.

The USCIS requires biometric services (fingerprints, digital signatures, and photographs) to confirm your identity.

What Is the Processing Time for a Tourist Visa Extension?

The processing time for a B-2 visa extension depends on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you applied.

Consulates usually have processing times based on appointment schedules, pending visa applications, and staffing.

What Happens If Your Visa Expires Before Your Visa Extension is Approved?

If the USCIS receives your application to extend your nonimmigrant status before your current Form I-94 expires, you may remain in the U.S. for 240 days while your request is pending.

Generally, the USCIS will defer any removal proceedings until they decide on your request for an extension of nonimmigrant status. Nevertheless, the DHS may bring a removal proceeding against you, even if you have an application for an extension of status pending.

Individuals who filed their extension request before their Form I-94 expires will not be deemed unlawfully present in the U.S. under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA section 212).

A tourist visa holder who fails to file for an extension before their B2 visa expiration date may be exempted if they can demonstrate that:

  • The delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond your control
  • The length of the delay was reasonable
  • They have not violated their status
  • They are still bona fide nonimmigrants
  • They are not in removal proceedings

What Happens After Applying for an Extension of Your Tourist Visa?

After you file the visa extension application, the USCIS will send you a receipt with a receipt number. The receipt will also provide an estimated processing time for your application.

You can also use the USCIS Website to check the estimated processing time of your application using your case number.

If your extension is approved, you will be issued a new I-94 card with a new departure date. In addition, you can remain in the U.S. until this new I-94 date.

When departing from the U.S., you must present the newly issued and previous I-94 form to immigration.

What Happens When Your Application is Denied?

If your tourist visa extension is denied before the expiration date of your current visa, you should leave the U.S. before the visa expires. This is because once you are denied, your visa stamp will become void, and you will be considered out of status immediately.

Generally, remaining in the U.S. after your tourist visa has expired can lead to severe consequences, including being barred from returning to the U.S. or deportation. Therefore, individuals must check the date on Form I-94 to determine when their authorized stay expires.

The USCIS generally allows individuals thirty days to depart the U.S. starting from the date on the letter notifying you of their decision to deny an extension.

You will be placed in removal proceedings if you do not depart within thirty days. In addition, multiple entry visa holders who have overstayed their visas will be denied entry into the U.S.

Why You Should Contact an Immigration Attorney

Delays or mistakes when filing B2 visa extensions can affect the possibility of getting your request approved on time. Therefore, you should consider consulting an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles to help you navigate the process.

At the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney, we have professional knowledge of the U.S. immigration system and can help you apply for your B2 visa extension. In addition, we can help you ease your mind by obtaining your visa extension on time.

Our immigration attorneys can help you gather all the required documents and will be there to answer any questions you might have. This way, you can avoid mistakes that could delay your application or cause the USCIS to deny your visa extension.

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