Applying for an American visa extension

If you are a non-immigrant visa holder in the United States and need to stay longer than your authorized period of stay, you may be eligible to apply for an extension.

Visa extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and there is no guarantee that your application will be approved.

Who is eligible for a visa extension?

To be eligible for a visa extension, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a valid non-immigrant visa.
  • You must have a valid passport.
  • You must have a compelling reason for requesting an extension.
  • You must not have violated any of the terms of your visa.

Common reasons for requesting a visa extension

Some common reasons for requesting a visa extension include:

  • Medical reasons
  • Business reasons
  • Educational reasons
  • Family reasons

How to apply for a visa extension

To apply for a visa extension, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can file Form I-539 online or by mail.

Documents to submit with visa extension application

In addition to Form I-539, you will also need to submit the following documents with your visa extension application:

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your visa
  • A copy of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record
  • Evidence of your financial support
  • Evidence of your ties to your home country
  • A letter explaining why you need an extension

The processing time for visa extension applications varies depending on the workload of the USCIS. It is important to file your application well in advance of your authorized period of stay to avoid overstaying your visa.

What if my visa extension application is denied?

If your visa extension application is denied, you will have to depart the United States by the end of your authorized period of stay.

If you overstay your visa, you may be subject to deportation and will be barred from re-entering the United States for a period of time.


Requesting a visa extension is a complex process, and it is important to understand your rights and options. If you are considering requesting a visa extension, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney.

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