The United States ranks third on the list of countries with the most tourist arrivals. Although a visit visa allows you to stay in the US for a specific duration, there can circumstances that compel you to remain in the country beyond that timeframe. To avoid any penalties for overstaying your visa in America, you need to apply for a visit visa extension.
But getting a visit visa extension can be an uphill task. You need to provide substantial proof that you originally intended to leave within the duration mentioned in your I-94 Form. And, make sure you apply at least 45 days before your visa expires.
Here’s a look at the basic documents you will need to request for an extension.
Documents Needed for Visa Extension
Also known as the Application to Change/Extend Non-immigrant Visa Status, all relevant fields in this form will need to filled with accurate information. In case you wish to apply for an extension for your spouse and children (under 21 years), you can include them in the same form. The only condition is that all the applicants should have the same status, or all should be in derivative status.
You only need to pay the fee once, irrespective of the number of applicants on the form. The fee for visa extension is $370.
You will need to provide a copy of the Arrival-Departure Record that clearly mentions the expiry date of your visa status.
Copies of the blank as well as stamped pages of your valid passport will be required. Ensure that the expiry date of your passport is at least 6 months beyond the extension period you have requested for.
Reason for Visa Extension
You need to provide the USCIS with a letter that mentions the reason(s) for your change of plans. It should also include details of your arrangement to depart from the country, if the extension is granted. These include your itinerary and a copy of the return tickets.
Other information can include the effect of the extended stay on your job back home and on your family. So, if you’re employed, you can provide a letter that proves that your company has information about your extended stay in the US.
When Should You Apply for Extension?
If you are sure that you haven’t violated any conditions mentioned in your tourist visa and that your entry was legal, you should apply as soon as possible. The USCIS recommends that the application should be submitted at least 45 days before the existing visa status expires. If you fail to file the application before your legal stay in the US ends, you will face the risk of being deported and/or banned from future entry into the US.
After successfully filing, you will be given a receipt and a 13-digit case number. It will also mention the estimated processing time.
What if I Get the Extension?
If your application is approved, you will get a new Form I-94, with the updated departure date. Make sure you make a copy of this, since you may need to provide it during any future US trips. When you depart, you need to submit both the old and the new I-94 forms, when required to do so.
If you don’t get the extension, you will be informed about the reason for denial through a letter.