You may want or need to stay in the United States longer than your visa allows. A visa extension can allow you to do that, but you will need to apply with the correct form, fill out the application with care, and meet the necessary deadlines.
If your extension isn’t handled correctly you may lose your current status and be at risk of deportation. If you are deported you may be barred from re-entering the United States again for up to 10 years.
If you need help applying for a visa extension, contact Boston immigration attorney Giselle M. Rodriguez. Giselle helps clients with the full range of immigration challenges, including visa extensions. She is bilingual (English & Spanish), and works with clients throughout Greater Boston and Massachusetts. Contact Giselle today to discuss your case, or read on to find out more about protecting your immigration status in the United States.
Visitor’s Visa Extensions
If your non-immigrant visitor‘s visa remains valid and you’ve (1) committed no crimes that would make you ineligible for a visa, (2) have not violated the terms of your admission, and (3) did not misrepresent the reason for your admission, then it is possible to extend your stay by filing a Form I-539.
You will need to provide a valid reason for your visa extension. A wide variety of reasons are acceptable. A valid reason could be a friend’s upcoming wedding, or a desire to continue tourist activities, or a new job opportunity.
Work Visa Extensions (Green Card Extensions)
Workers who want to extend their visas can do so as long as they have (1) not committed any crimes, (2) have not violated the terms of your admission, and (3) still have a valid passport that will remain valid for the duration of their stay.
For most work visas, your employer will need to file a Petition for you to extend your employment, or you’ll need to find a new employer who will petition for you.
Spouses or unmarried children may also extend their stay if you are authorized to extend yours.
Student Visa Extensions
Usually student visas last until the completion of the student’s academic program. However, the form I-20 does also list a specific length of time that’s been granted to complete the program. Because completing an academic program sometimes requires students to take classes that aren’t consistently available, it’s common to need more time.
An F-1 extension exists to cover those issues. You’ll need your Designated School Official (DSO) to verify that there is a legitimate reason you were unable to complete your program on-time, such as change of major or research topic, unexpected problems, or illnesses. You cannot extend your visa to improve your GPA, or to complete coursework delayed by academic probation or suspension.
Some Visas Cannot Be Extended
Some visas can’t be extended. A good example is the K-1 visa (“fianceé visa”), which grants the soon-to-be spouse 90 days to marry his or her intended spouse before the visa expires. If you are here on a visa with no right of extension you might need to speak to an immigration attorney about your options. You may be able to apply for a change in status that offers you an opportunity to get a different visa – one that suits your needs better.
Don’t lose your immigration status, or come dangerously close to it. If your visa is nearing expiration, contact Boston immigration attorney Giselle M. Rodriguez. I can help you ensure that your stay in the United States remains legal.