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How to Extend Your USA Visa While in the USA

March 29, 2019

Extend your stay in the United States by filing a visa extension request with the USCitizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-539. … evidence of certain relationships, whether personal or business-related.

Part 1 Analysing your situation

Check the expiration date on your Form I-94: As of a couple of years ago, non-immigrant travelers to America no longer receive paper I-9

4’s when they arrive. Instead, an electronic copy is made, and the relevant dates will have been stamped on your travel documents upon arrival.

  •      There should be three items stamped to your incoming travel documents: the date of your arrival, the class of your admission (the sort of visa you’ll receive), and the date you’re admitted until (the expiration date, essentially)
  •     If you have misplaced these travel documents, you can find your I-94 with the relevant details online at the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


Check today’s date: USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) strongly recommends submitting your I-539 no less than 45 days before the date of expiration listed on your I-94. Your situation will need to be looked at by a USCIS agent if it has been less than 45 days; if the delay was for causes out of your control, your tardiness will be overlooked.

Make sure you are eligible: There are a number of categories into which non-immigrant visitors to the United States are divided. All of these will be allowed to submit an extension using I-539 save for a few. If you were admitted as one of the categories below, you will be unable to file an extension.


  •       Admitted as part of a visa waiver exemption.
  •       As a crew member, with a D non-immigrant visa.
  •     In transit through the U.S. either with (C non-immigrant visa) or without a visa (TWOV).
  •       As a fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K non-immigrant visa)


  •       As an informant (or accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S non-immigrant visa).


Review your non-immigrant category. Depending on the class of your admission as stated on your I-94 or the relevant travel documents, your submission process may differ. These categories are numerous and vary greatly. Look at the I-539 instructions found at for the full list of eligible non-immigrant categories, and the differences in the submission process for each.

  •      You are permitted to include your spouse and any unmarried children under 21 as applicants under the same I-539. Note, however, you will all be granted the same amount in time extended; they may not vary between family members.


Part 2 Filling your I-539

Gather the requested documentation. Depending on your class of admission (i.e., the sort of non-immigrant you are classified as), the documentation you’ll need to submit will vary greatly. You’ll need to visit the I-539 instructions linked above to discover just what is asked of you document-wise depending on your class of admissions.


  •     For the most part, this will probably include evidence of certain relationships, whether personal or business-related.
  •      Unless otherwise requested, you should send copies of documents requested. If you send the original, know that there is a chance it will not be returned unless you specifically request it.
  •     Any document you submit in a foreign language must be accompanied by a translation in English. You must also include proof of your translator’s qualifications.


Have the application’s fee ready. Regardless of the class of your admission (save for one or two exceptions) or the documents involved with your I-539 submission, there is a $290 fee required to submit your I-539. The USCIS requests that this $290 is submitted by check or money order.


  •      When writing your check or money order, you’ll need to write as payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not abbreviate it when writing your check.
  •      Certain applicants will be required to make a biometrics service appointment (the USCIS will notify you if this is the case, as well as when and where to attend). For those required to do this, there is an $85 fee included. Submit this in the same way you would the $290 fee.


File your I-539. Depending on your location, where you file your I-539 will vary. Call 1-800-375-5283 or visit to figure out where to file your I-539 form. Remember to include all of the documentation requested when filing your I-539.

  •      Some I-539 filings are eligible to file online. Check the website and look under “FORMS,” and again under “E-Filing and Online Service” to see if you are able to e-file your I-539.