If you currently hold a valid visa status in the United States, the attorneys at Landau, Hess, Simon & Choi may be able to help you to extend your visa status without needing to leave the country. It is important to remember in considering your legal status that it is the date that was stamped in your passport as the expiration of your length of stay that controls how long you may remain in the United States. For example, you may have a visa to enter the United States that is valid for one year, but if the stamp you were given in your passport by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon your arrival states that you can remain in the U.S. only for 6 months then that is end date for your stay. Always remember to check the expiration date on your stay that is endorsed in your passport when you enter, as it is not uncommon for CBP to make mistakes. As a mistake in your status expiration date will control the length of your stay, it is imperative to have this corrected as soon as possible.
Although there are exceptions, most visa statuses can generally be extended in the United States at least once and in some cases repeatedly. While the process of visa extension can be routine, small errors or inconsistencies in the way you present your case can result in lengthy inquiries and in some cases even denials.
While there is a basic form for requesting a visa extension that must be properly and timely filed, (Form I-539), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also require a detailed and sufficient explanation for why you wish to extend your visa along with evidence of your ability to financially support yourself for the requested additional time in the U.S. The USCIS may be suspicious that you are employed in the U.S. without authorization if you are asking to extend your stay for a substantial length and if your means of financial support is unclear and not well substantiated.
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