So you filed for a visa to travel to the USA and got accepted. Now you’re here and your visa will expire soon, but you can’t go home yet because you still have business errands to fulfill, or you’re simply enjoying it a lot and want to prolong your stay. Filing for an extension on your visa with form I-539 isn’t the easiest process in the world, but it can be facilitated if you pay extra attention to some things. Here are the most important three things to remember when filing for an extension on your US visa.
1. Consider Today’s Date
The US Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS) strongly demands applicants to file their I-539 forms at least 45 days before the expiration date inscribed on their I-94 forms. If you don’t keep this time frame in mind, an Immigrations officer will have to look over your papers, and that involves quite a bit of hassle, both for you and the USCIS. However, you file the I-539 late due to events that you had no control over (and can provide adequate proof to that), the USCIS will overlook your delay.
2. Check if you are eligible for an extension
Nonimmigrant US visitors are divided into several categories depending on various criteria such as reason for visit, relationship to US citizens and so on. However, out of all these categories, only some are eligible, while other are not. A few examples of visa categories that are not eligible for extensions are:
- D nonimmigrant visa (crew members)
- C nonimmigrant visa (in transit)
- K nonimmigrant visa (fiance of an American citizen)
- S nonimmigrant visa (informant)
However, there are some services that help you check visa waiver program, such as ESTA USA VISA. Using such a program can ease the process greatly.
3. Gather the necessary documents and fee money
If you’re eligible for a visa extension, before filing you also need to make sure you have certain documents, as well as pay a certain amount of money. Depending on your visa type, you will most likely need different documents, therefore you need to check form I-539 regulations before getting started. After you have all your documents ready and in order, make copies of them and send those unless it’s clearly stated the USCIS requires the original.
As far as the fee goes, it generally amounts to 290 dollars, and it needs to be sent over to the USCIS either by check or money order. However, it needs to be specifically payable to the Department of Homeland Security, not the USCIS specifically.