Extend US Visa Status (I-94 Form I-94 Card): Visa Extension to Stay Longer on My Visit to USA
- How Long Am I Allowed to Stay in the US (I-94 Form versus Visa)?
- Am I Eligible to Extend My Visa (I-94 Form) to Stay Longer in the US?
- How Do I Apply to Extend My Visa (I-94 Form)?
- When Should I Apply to Extend My Visa (I-94 Form)?
- How Do I Extend the Visa (I-94 Form) of My Wife or Husband and Children?
- My I-94 Form Has Already Expired (I Am Late Filing for an Extension)
- What If I File on Time but USCIS Does Not Make A Decision Before My I-94 Form Expires?
- Checking the Status of My Application
- How Do I Get Another I-94 Form If the Original Was Submitted with the Application to Extend My Visa Status?
- How Can I Appeal if the Application to Extend My Visa Status is Denied?
- Help! with Extending My Visa Status (I-94 Card)
How Long Am I Allowed to Stay in the US (I-94 Form versus Visa)?
A nonimmigrant temporarily enters the United States for a specific purpose such as business, study, or pleasure. When you entered the country on a nonimmigrant visa, a U.S. immigration inspector should have examined your passport and visa and then given you (or placed in your passport) an I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card). It is this I-94 Form and not your visa that tells you, in the lower right-hand corner, when you must leave the United States.
You can prove you did not violate U.S. laws by turning in your I-94 Form to the proper authorities when you leave the country. If you want to extend your visa status (I-94 Form) in the United States, then you must ask for permission from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized stay (I-94 Form) expires. Proof that you are willing to obey U.S. immigration laws will be important if you want to travel to the United States as an immigrant or nonimmigrant in the future. If you break immigration laws, you may also become subject to removal (deportation).
For more information, please see:
- I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card) (--this also explains how to obtain a replacement)
- Length of Stay is Determined by My I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card) -- NOT My Visa
Am I Eligible to Extend My Visa (I-94 Form) to Stay Longer in the US?
You may apply to extend your visa status (beyond the date on your I-94 Form) to stay longer in the US if you were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid, you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible, you have not violated the conditions of your admission, and your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay. You must apply to extend your visa status if you wish to stay longer than the date indicated in the lower right-hand corner of your I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card). Please note, you must submit the application for an extension of stay BEFORE your current authorized stay (I-94 Form) expires.
You may not apply to extend your visa status (beyond the date on your I-94 Form) if you were admitted to the United States in the following visa categories:
C Visa - Alien in Transit
D Visa - Crewman
K-1 or K-2 Visas - Fiancee or Dependent of a Fiancee
S Visa – Witness or Informant beyond a total of three years
TWOV - Transit without Visa
WT or WB - Visa Waiver Program
How Do I Apply to Extend My Visa (I-94 Form)?
For the following visa categories of nonimmigrants, your employer should carefully read and file USCIS Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) and any required supporting documentation before your I-94 Form expires:
E-1 or E-2 – Treaty Traders and Investors
H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 – Temporary Workers
L-1A or L-1B – Intracompany Transferees
O-1 or O-2 – Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
P-1, P-2, or P-3 – Entertainers and Athletes
Q-1 – Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs
R-1 – Religious Workers
TN-1 or TN-2 – Canadians and Mexicans under NAFTA
If you are in the following nonimmigrant visa categories, you should carefully read and complete USCIS Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) and submit any required supporting documents before your I-94 Form expires:
A-3 – Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of Diplomatic and Other Government Officials and Immediate Family)
B-1 or B-2 – Temporary Visitors for Business or Pleasure
E – Dependents of Treaty Traders and Investors
G-5 – Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of Foreign Government Officials and Immediate Family
H-4 – Dependents of Temporary Workers
K-3 or K-4 – Spouse of US Citizen and Minor Child Accompanying / Following to Join
L-2 – Dependents of Intracompany Transferees
M – Vocational Students and Dependents
N – Parents and Children of Certain People Who Have Been Granted Special Immigrant Status
NATO-7 – Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of NATO Representatives, Officials, Employees and Immediate Family Members
O-3 – Dependents of Aliens with Extraordinary Ability
P-4 – Dependents of Athletes and Entertainers
R-2 – Dependents of Religious Workers
TD – Dependents of TN (Canadians and Mexicans under NAFTA)
All “V” Categories – Certain Second-Preference Beneficiaries
The application and correct fee should be mailed to the location indicated on the form instructions. Forms are available online, or by calling 1-800-870-3676, or by submitting an online request to receive forms by mail. Further information on forms, filing fees, and fee waivers is available in USCIS Forms / INS Forms and Other US Immigration Forms, Fees & Filing Locations.
When Should I Apply to Extend My Visa (I-94 Form)?
You should apply to extend your visa status at least 45 days before your stay (the date on your I-94 Form) expires, but no longer than six months before it expires. USCIS must receive your application by the day your stay expires.
How Do I Extend the Visa (I-94 Form) of My Wife or Husband and Children?
If you are also extending the visa status (beyond the date on the I-94 Form) of your wife or husband and children, the application procedure depends on your situation:
- If your employer files USCIS Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) for you, then your wife or husband and children must carefully read and complete USCIS Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) and submit any required supporting documents to change to a new nonimmigrant visa category. It is best to submit both forms at the same time.
- If you are filing USCIS Form I-539 for your own extension, you may include your wife or husband and any unmarried children under the age of 21 in your application if you are all in the same nonimmigrant visa category, or if your wife or husband and children were given derivative nonimmigrant status. Derivative nonimmigrant status means that your spouse and children were given nonimmigrant visas based on your nonimmigrant status. For instance, if a student is given an F-1 "Academic Student" visa, then the spouse and child are given F-2 "Spouse and Child of an Academic Student" visas.
My I-94 Form Has Already Expired (I Am Late Filing for an Extension)
If you are late filing to extend your nonimmigrant visa status and your current visa status (I-94 Form) has already expired, you must prove that:
- The delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
- The length of the delay was reasonable;
- You have not done anything else to violate your nonimmigrant visa status (such as work without USCIS approval);
- You are still a nonimmigrant (you are not trying to obtain a Green Card and become a permanent resident of the United States; there are some exceptions); and
- You are not in formal proceedings to remove (deport) you from the country.
What If I File on Time but USCIS Does Not Make A Decision Before My I-94 Form Expires?
If USCIS receives your application before your visa status (I-94 Form) expires (in exceptional cases, they may excuse filing after your visa status expires due to circumstances beyond your control), and if you have not violated the terms of your visa status and you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you may continue your previously approved activities in the United States (including previously authorized work) for a maximum period of 240 days, or until the first of the following occurs:
- USCIS make a decision on your application; or
- The reason for your requested extension has been accomplished.
If your application for extension of visa status is denied after your previously approved stay (I-94 Form) has expired and you are still in the United States, you will be considered “out of status” as of the date your original period of stay (I-94 Form) expired. You must cease employment (if such employment was authorized) and depart the United States immediately. In addition, any nonimmigrant visa in your passport granted in connection with your classification becomes void. Once your visa is void, you must submit any new visa application at a U.S. consulate in your home country (not a third country, except in rare instances as determined by the U.S. Department of State).
Checking the Status of My Application
You may check the status of your application or case online, by phone, or by contacting an appropriate USCIS office. For details see USCIS Case Status: Check USCIS Case Status for Visas and Immigration. You may also want to review US Visa Wait Times and USCIS Immigration Processing Times. For more assistance, see HELP! (below).
How Do I Get Another I-94 Form If the Original Was Submitted with the Application to Extend My Visa Status?
If your application for an extension is approved, you will be issued a replacement I-94 Form with a new departure date. If your application is denied, your original I-94 Form will be returned with a request for your immediate departure.
How Can I Appeal if the Application to Extend My Visa Status is Denied?
If your application to extend your visa status is denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision to a higher authority. However, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the same office that made the unfavorable decision. By filing these motions, you may ask the office to reexamine or reconsider their decision. A motion to reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied by affidavits or other documentary evidence. A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made.
- Have a specific question? To help you find an answer quickly, we have placed "Ask a Visa & Immigration Lawyer" boxes on this page. Simply type a question in any of the boxes to receive a response online from a visa and immigration lawyer.
- You may also contact your nearest USCIS District office or Sub Office or call the national USCIS toll-free information service at 1-800-375-5283. Be aware that if you have broken immigration laws, you may be subject to removal (deportation) from the U.S.
- You may also want to seek the advice of an immigration attorney (this link will help you find the right lawyer for your case), or an immigrant assistance organization. A list of accredited organizations and individuals is maintained by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which also maintains a list of free legal service providers.