How to extend your stay in the United States on a non-immigrant visa
Non-immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to stay in the United States temporarily. There are more than 40 different categories of non-immigrant American visas, each of which is designed for a specific purpose.
But sometimes plans can change. How to extend your stay in the United States, if you entered the country on a non-immigrant visa, is described on the website US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
You can apply to change your status in the United States if:
• You legally entered the US as a non-immigrant;
• You have not committed any actions that deprive you of the right to receive immigration privileges;
• There are no factors due to which you have to leave the territory of the United States, and then enter again on a visa of another category;
• You applied for status change by mail or online before the date indicated on the entry permit stamp on your travel document and on Form I-94.
Please note that your passport must be valid for the entire requested period of stay in the United States in the new non-immigration category.
You may not change your non-immigration status in the United States if you entered the country in one of the following categories:
C - Transit fare;
D - Crew members;
K-1 or K-2 - Grooms / brides or derivatives of these categories;
K-3 or K-4 - Husband / wife of American citizens and their minor children;
S - Witnesses and informers;
TWOV - Visa free transit;
WT or WB - Visa Waiver Program.
If you belong to any of these categories, you must leave the United States before the date indicated on the I-94 form.
How to apply for a change in non-immigration status in the United States
The application procedure depends on the non-immigration status you want to receive:
• Working category
If you want to change your status to one of the non-immigrant categories that work in the United States, your prospective employer must file I-129 form, a request for a non-immigrant worker prior to the expiration date of your permitted stay specified in your I-94 form.
You cannot start working on the new classification until the change of your status has been approved.
If your prospective employer submits I-129 Form to change your status in the USA, and your spouse and unmarried children who have not reached 21, the children also want to change their status in order to remain in the USA as your dependents, I-539 form. They can all be included in one I-539 Form. It is best to submit I-129 and I-539 Forms together so that they are considered at the same time.
• Other categories
If you want to change your status to one of the following non-immigration categories, you need to submit the I-539 form:
A - Diplomats and other government officials, as well as close members of their families and employees;
B-1 and B-2 - Tourists and businessmen;
E-1 and E-2 - Members of the families of merchants, trade investors;
F - Academic students (students) and their family members;
G - Foreign civil servants, their close relatives, as well as employees;
H-4 - Family members of temporary skilled or unskilled workers and students;
L-2 - Family members of employees transferred within one company;
M - Vocational students and their family members;
N - Parents and children of some people who have received special immigration status;
NATO - NATO Representative, officers, employees, and close members of their families;
O-3 - Family members of people with outstanding abilities and their assistants;
P-4 - Family members of athletes and entertainers;
R-2 - Family members of religious leaders.
While this application is being considered, the person is in the US legally. But if his term in the country has already expired, and he was denied an extension, he should leave immediately.
If your status change application is approved, the status change will be considered effective from the expiry date of your I-94.
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