Tourist Visa Extensions
How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. with a Tourist Visa Extension?
A non-immigrant who enters the U.S. as a tourist under aB-2 Visitor Visa is usually granted a maximum of 6 months to stay in the country. A non-immigrant visa extension typically grants the applicant an additional 6 months in the country. This may vary according to each individual case.
A tourist visa extension application should be submitted at least 45 days prior to the visa’s expiration date. This will allow for processing time and will help you avoid overstaying your visa.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Tourist Visa Extension?
Visa extensions are not granted to every applicant. In order to be eligible for a tourist visa extension, the following requirements must be met:
- Your admittance into the country with a B-2 visa was lawful and not fraudulent
- Your current visa status is valid
- You did not commit any crimes during your stay that would disqualify you for a visa extension
- Your application was submitted before your stay expires
- You have a valid passport during your entire stay in the country
You may have to provide additional proof regarding any extra requirements that the immigration department may have for your individual case. It is helpful to work with a lawyer if you need assistance with your extension application.
Visa extensions for the B-2 Visitor/Tourist category can cost several hundreds of dollars in fees.
What if I Missed the Filing Deadline for a Tourist Visa Extension?
If your tourist visa extension application is filed after the deadline, or if your stay has expired, your application may still be accepted. You will have to prove:
- The delay in filing was due to extraordinary circumstances which were beyond your control (such as incapacity or prolonged illness)
- The length of the delay was considered to be reasonable
- You have not acted in any way that violates non-immigrant status requirements
- You are still currently a non-immigrant, and not filing for permanent residence
- You are not currently involved in any ongoing formal removal (deportation) hearings
If your tourist visa extension application is denied altogether, you may be able to appeal your case. This will involve more fees as well as a re-determination of your eligibility status. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you will be asked to leave the country immediately upon the expiration of your visa.
Do I Have Any Other Alternatives Besides a Tourist Visa extension?
Yes- one thing you can do is to file for permanent resident status instead of an extension. Be aware that if you file for permanent residency, you will be ineligible for a visa extension.
Also, you can reapply for another visa after a waiting period (usually one year). This may allow you to re-enter the U.S. in the future.
What are Some Other Concerns Regarding Tourist Visa Extensions?
Tourist visas are probably the most highly regulated visas due to a tendency for aliens to overstay their tourist visa. When filing for a tourist visa extension, you should keep the following in mind:
- Entering the U.S. with a B-2 visa with the intent to get married in the U.S. could be considered as immigration marriage fraud
- Filing for an extension immediately upon entry into the country may be perceived as a pre-planned act and could disqualify your application.
- As a tourist, you are not allowed to work during your stay and during the extension period
Basically, any acts that demonstrate an intent to stay in the country longer than is allowed will create suspicion of a violation. Be sure that your actions while in the country stay within the requirements specified under the B-2 Visitor visa category.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Tourist Visa Extension?
If you or a loved will be applying for a tourist visa extension, you may wish to contact an immigration lawyer for advice. Your attorney can assist you in filing your application in with submitting all the necessary documents. This will help you prevent any violations and help you avoid delays in the process.
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Last Modified: 07-21-2011 10:30 AM PDT
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