Extensions of Stay

An extension of stay grants permission to stay in the United States beyond the point of your visa expiration date. Visa holders must apply for an extension of stay well before their visas expire. If you need help with your extension of stay application, a Philadelphia immigration lawyer can help you with any questions you may have.

Applying for an Extension of Stay

Non-immigrant, or temporary, visas are issued to those traveling to the United States for a specific purpose and a set amount of time. If you are here on non-immigrant status, you received an 1-94 card that states the date by which you must leave the country. To extend your stay beyond that date, you will need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

You may only apply for an extension of stay if:

  • You are lawfully present in the U.S.
  • Your temporary visa is valid
  • You have not committed any crimes that render you ineligible for a visa, such as fraud, larceny, and other crimes of moral turpitude
  • You have not violated the terms of your admission
  • Your passport is, and will remain, valid for your entire stay

It will help your case to present certain types of evidence to the USCIS, such as proof of the reason for your extended stay, your planned arrangements to depart the U.S., and bank statements or pay stubs showing that you are able to support yourself while in the country. Economic ties abroad, such as an employer who will reinstate your employment upon your return, are also beneficial.

Eligibility for an Extension of Stay

If you were admitted to the U.S. on a Visa Waiver Program, you are a C non-immigrant visa holder, a D non-immigrant visa holder, a K non-immigrant visa holder, an S non-immigrant visa holder, or a transit without a visa (TWOV), you may not apply to extend your stay. The USCIS recommends that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before the expiration date listed on your I-94 card. However, there are several exceptions to this requirement.

You may be able to file even after your authorized stay has expired if you can show that:

  • Extraordinary circumstances beyond your control caused the delay
  • The length of the delay was reasonable
  • You have not violated the terms of your non-immigrant visa
  • You are still a non-immigrant and are not attempting to become a permanent resident
  • You are not the subject of removal proceedings for deportation

Upon receipt of your application, the USCIS will mail you a receipt so you can track your application online while your request is being considered. If your extension of stay is granted, you may remain in the U.S. for up to 240 days or until the reason for your stay is completed, whichever comes first.

Important Deadlines

If you let your temporary visa expire without filing for an extension of stay or if your extension of stay is denied, you are considered out of status as of your I-94 expiration date. Once you are considered out of status, you are required to leave the U.S. immediately or be forcefully removed after 30 days. You are permitted to remain in the U.S. while your application is pending, even if your I-94 expires in the meantime.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Help Non-Immigrants Extend Their Stay in the U.S.

If you are seeking to extend your stay in the U.S., contact an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. From our office in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we also handle federal criminal cases. For more information on how we can help with your extension of stay, call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online.