How to legally extend your stay in the United States if you come with a tourist visa
Foreign nationals who enter the United States with a business or business visa for a temporary stay sometimes want to stay in the country longer than permitted. Miami Herald tells how to do it legally.
Regardless of whether there are problems due to which foreigners cannot return home, changes in the status of a non-immigrant visa, family petitions or relations with US citizens, there are many reasons to try to extend your stay legally.
Immigration Attorney Angel Lil talked about staying legally in the United States after entering a tourist or business visa.
Tourist Visa Terms
B-1 visas for business and B-2 for tourism designed exclusively for foreigners who have a constant intention to return home abroad, where they came from. These types of visas do not accept immigration intentions both when applying for a visa and when entering the United States.
If there is a suspicion that a foreign national who wishes to enter the country intends to remain in the United States, he may be denied a visa or entry.
Foreigners must demonstrate that they plan to return to their countries because of real estate, families and other factors. It is also important to really go to those places in the United States that a tourist talks about visiting during an interview with the Foreign Intelligence Service at checkpoints on the border.
Using a tourist visa is illegal if your goal is immigration, as this violates the conditions of entry for such a visa.
On the subject: What you need to know about a tourist visa in the United States
The first 90 days after entering the country
Immigration officers closely monitor the behavior of an alien who came on a tourist visa during the first 90 days of his stay in the United States.
If they notice that during this period a foreigner studied or worked without permission or allowed the authorities to assume that he was planning to settle in the United States, such a tourist runs the risk of being accused of immigration fraud.
It is important to be very careful during these first 90 days, although most people holding a B-2 visa usually have a six-month stay.
In what cases can a tourist visa be extended
Extending United States Stay longer than permitted is possible for short-term circumstances, such as the need for emergency medical care, recovery from such an accident, inability to fly, family problems or situations when a foreigner plans to return home, but needs more time to solve an unforeseen problem.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recommends that anyone wishing to extend their stay in the country apply at least 45 days before the expiration of their permitted stay. Citizens of countries that participate in Visa Waiver Programcannot apply for an extension.
On the subject: How I arrived in the US for a tour and legally stayed forever
Change student status
If foreign nationals arrive on tourist visas and then have the opportunity to continue their studies in the United States or receive a professional education in the United States, they may request an extension of their tourist visas at the same time as applying for one of several student visas or exchange visas.
This allows applicants to remain legally in the country, pending a change in non-immigrant status.
Caution: Green Card
If a foreigner enters the United States with a tourist visa and wants to apply for legal resident status in one of 8 categories, the worst he can do is ask for a tourist visa extension.
The request in this case indicates that the person came to the United States with a tourist visa and the goal of immigrating.
There are those who still recommend applying for a visa extension in order to avoid an illegal stay in the United States, but sometimes this is tantamount to recognizing immigration fraud.
How to apply for a tourist or business visa extension
You will need Form I-539, Application for Renewal / Change of Non-Immigration Status (Form I-539, Application To Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status), which is easy to fill out and submit online.
What other options are possible
In addition to F-1 academic visas and M student visas, foreigners can apply to change their legal status to other non-immigrant categories, such as:
- J-1 for exchange visitors;
- H-1B for temporary workers in the specialty;
- H-2A for temporary agricultural workers;
- H-2B for temporary non-farm workers;
- L-1A for executives or managers of the host company.
These changes are permitted if the person has been legally admitted to the country and his non-immigrant status remains valid.
Foreign Relations with US Citizens
If a foreign citizen has immediate family members who are U.S. citizens - spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years old - the law allows them to claim the legal status of permanent resident based on their family relationshipsif they entered the country legally and have the right to do so.
If the petition is filed for other family members in accordance with preferred immigration classificationssuch as unmarried children of legal age, spouses and children of permanent residents, or siblings of U.S. citizens, the law requires not only that they legally move in, but that they remain in legal status all the time until the status is adjusted, among other requirements.
Romance and Green Card
The key questions are how foreigners entered the country, how long ago and with what intentions. Suppose a person has just arrived in the United States, he has a long-standing relationship with an American, and now there is an opportunity to formalize them. In this case, they must be careful for 90 days, not live together and not get married so quickly. But at the same time, they must submit an application before the expiration of their stay in order not to be in the country illegally.
If your foreign partners have been in the United States for many years, and even if you have gone beyond the permitted period, there will usually be no problem getting married and applying for a status change - unless there are other problems that cannot be approved by the authorities.
If you already have a relationship, it's time to start planning your application for permanent residence. Immigration officials trying confirm the legality of the marriageFocus on intentions at marriage. Counsel also recommends that all evidence of joint financial responsibility be retained.
Make a good plan
If a foreign national arrives in the country without a clear plan, he or she may violate US immigration laws, create inappropriate conditions, such as immigration fraud, or file unsubstantiated asylum applications. It’s best to tell the truth and apply for a visa compatible with your purpose.
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