Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

Many people in the USA having nonimmigrant status (visitor visa B1/B2, student visa F, worker visa L1 and H1B etc.) face the necessity to extend their stay in the USA.

Period of legal stay

You can see when a period of your stay in the USA expires on the official site. Check your Form I-94, day of entry and departure.

Remember, the period in your visa does not correspond to the period of your legal stay in the country. You are eligible to appear at the US border for additional interview with immigration officer within the period indicated in your visa. He or she defines how long you may stay in the USA. Nonimmigrant visa in a passport does not guarantee an entry to the USA.

For example: visitor multiple-entry US visa is issued for 3-5 years in some countries, but in most cases you cannot stay continually for more than 6 months on such visa in the USA.

You can extend your stay in the USA having applied form I-539 before I-94 expires. If you do not leave the country after your legal stay period expires, not having filed an application to extend nonimmigrant status, you break immigration law. As a result you may be denied entry to the USA in the future. You may also have problems if you want to immigrate to the USA.

 

Terms

You need to apply the form before the period of your legal stay in the USA expires, preferably in 45 days before I-94 expires. USCIS usually processes Form I-539 for about three months.

 

Requirements for visa extension

Have reasons to stay in the USA longer (for example, medical treatment, wish to keep travelling around the country);

Stay in the USA with nonimmigrant and valid visa;

Do not have any arrests or problems with law enforcement authorities;

Prove that you have not violated any conditions of your stay in the USA;

Have financial opportunity to provide for yourself in the USA;

Other conditions, for example, proofs of ties with your country of citizenship.

 

Who is not eligible to file I-539 to extend status:

A crewman with C1D visa;

An alien in transit or in transit without visa (TWOV);

A fiancé of US citizen with K visa;

European Union citizens, who entered the USA without a visa on Visa Waiver Program.

 

Document checklist

A statement explaining your plans and how long you want to stay;

Bank statement proving you have enough resources to fulfill your plans;

Reservation or return plane ticket to leave the USA;

Evidence of close ties with your country showing that you are not intended to stay in the USA;

Other documents. See the full list after you register and start completing the Form.

 

Procedure of visa extension

A spouse and unmarried children under 21 may be included into this form. Providing that all of them have legal status at the moment;

After approval of I-539 your form I-94 will be renewed and its expiration date will be postponed;

If Form I-539 has been denied, you will receive a notice that you have 30 days to leave the USA;

If you are waiting for a result of I-539 processing, but your form I-94 has expired, you can be allowed to stay for 180 days more from I-94 expiration date, if you have met all the requirement of visa extension process. You stay in the country within these 180 days having quasi-legal status, so you do not break the law, but your status is not considered to be a legal stay in the USA.

 

Translation

All your documents in any language, except for English, must be translated. You need to bring originals of all the documents mentioned in your application to an interview at the Embassy or Immigration Service.

Copies of documentary evidence attached to an application shall be of good quality and translated into English. Translation must be certified by translator’s signature with his/her name, contacts and qualification. All the originals will be returned after the interview.

 

Fees

Filing fee is $370, biometrics fee $85.

Total fee is $455.

Immigrateful services $299.

Questions & Answers

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