Extension of Stay
What is an extension of stay?
When in the United States on a nonimmigrant visitor’s visa, it may become necessary to extend your stay beyond the final date of your authorized stay. An extension of stay is a request that you can make to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to remain in the United States for an extended period of time beyond the date that your initial authorized stay expires. You may include your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 in your application if certain requirements are met.
Who is eligible?
You may be eligible to extend your stay in the United States if you entered the United States with a nonimmigrant visa that is still valid, and you have not committed crimes that would render you ineligible for a visa. Also, you must not have at any time during your stay violated any of the conditions that allowed you entrance into the United States in the first place. Your passport must be valid and continue to be valid the entire time you plan to stay in the country.
You must also show that you have a legitimate reason to extend your stay, depending upon the category of your visa. An immigration attorney can help you to determine what the criteria is for your particular visa, and how long you may apply to extend your stay.
Again, it is very important to note: a) That you must have your Extension of Stay application submitted BEFORE the expiration of your current legal visit; and b) you must make sure your passport is valid throughout your stay in the United States.
You also need to show evidence that you plan to leave the country when the extension ends, and that you have the ability to support yourself financially during the extended period for which you are applying.
Speak with an immigration attorney, who will also be able to help with questions regarding late filing for an extension of stay, and what the possible consequences for late filings might be.
Who is ineligible?
There are some who are not eligible to apply for an extension of stay. That includes foreigners who entered to country under a visa waiver program, who are in transit in the U.S. without a visa (TWOV), or those who have been admitted to the country with the following nonimmigrant visas:
- Crew member (D)
- In transit (C)
- Fiance or dependent of a U.S. citizen (K)
- Any informants and their families (S)
Applying for Extension of Stay
It is important that you apply for an extension of stay while your visa for an authorized stay is still valid, preferably 45 days before it expires. The consequences of staying beyond your authorized stay or the expiration of your visa can be dramatic; it can result in not being able to enter the country on a nonimmigrant visa again in the future, and you may also be deported.
How Can an Austin Immigration Attorney Help?
The extension of stay process can be more complicated than simply filling out an application and waiting for results. There are a number of procedural and material requirements for obtaining these immigration benefits, and navigating through the process can be very daunting and time-consuming. For this reason, it is advisable to obtain the advice and assistance of a qualified immigration law attorney to handle the matter.
Austin, Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm has experience assisting individuals in extension of stay issues. Ms. Lyttle is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and can communicate directly with clients and their family members directly in these languages, as well as understand documents in these languages.
Furthermore, because immigration law is a federal law matter, the Lyttle Law Firm can assist you even if you are not a resident of Texas. If you need a competent immigration attorney to handle your extension of stay matter, contact the Lyttle Law Firm, and you will be able to speak to a qualified immigration attorney to get the advice and assistance you need. An Austin immigration lawyer experienced in all aspects of the extension of stay issue can make the process more manageable, as well as provide relevant context pertaining to how the matter is proceeding and what you can reasonably expect in terms of both time frame and success in obtaining the desired immigration benefit.