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Extending a Tourist Visa – Eligibility & Procedure

B1 and B2 visas are meant for people who travel to the United States for tourism or for pleasure and B1 business and B2 tourist visas are issued together. People who hold tourist visas can extend their visas, while in the United States by filing the required USCIS forms. However, USCIS may not extend the visas of all the applicants. Foreign nationals who wish to extend their visas, will have to file their applications at least 30 days ahead of the date of expiration of Form I-94.

All the foreign nationals who enter into the United States, will have to fill out the CBP Form I-94 and the date of arrival and the date on which the foreign national must leave the country will be written on this card. The date on Form I-94 and the date on the visa stamp are not the same and the foreign nationals who enter into the country on temporary visas must not consider the date on the visa stamp and the date on Form I-94, must be considered.

Extend your Non-immigrant Visa by Filing Form I-539

To extend your non-immigrant visa, you will have to file Form I-539, Application to Extend / Change Non-immigrant Status and you must go directly to a USCIS office in person and file this form. If you hold a tourist visa and if you look forward to extend your stay, you need to provide the reasons for extension. Remember that, you must file Form I-539, before the expiration of your authorized stay in America.

If your visa is expiring and if you wish to extend your stay, you will have to provide valid reasons for not filing the petition at the right time and prove that you were not able to file an application to extend your stay 45 days ahead of the date of expiration of your visa due to inevitable circumstances. You must also prove that you have not violated the immigration laws and that you are a genuine non-immigrant. Similarly, USCIS will not allow you to extend your visa, if you are placed in removal proceedings.

People who enter into the United States with valid non-immigrant visas alone can file Form I-539, to extend their visas. Moreover, you cannot extend your expired non-immigrant visa. You must not have a criminal history and you must not have violated the US immigration laws, to file an application to extend your stay. Likewise, you can include the names of your immediate relatives, such as your spouse and children, in your application. USCIS will first check your application for completeness and will verify your supporting documents. You will be granted an extension of stay, only if you are eligible. Your reason for stay will help the USCIS to determine the period of extension.

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