Visa Extension, Renewal, or Change of Status
Visa Extension, Renewal, or Change of Status
During the Coronavirus Pandemic, extension of visas has become one of the most requested immigration services in the United States. The Victoria Law Group has seen a considerable increase in requests for these kinds of services: extensions, renewals, and/or change of states. We are happy to discuss your situation with you and see if we can figure out a way to keep you in the United States. In the meantime, here are the Top Questions we receive from time to time regarding visa extensions, renewals, or change of status.
Top Questions For Visa Extension, Renewal, or Change of Status:
“We help great people achieve the American Dream.”
Top 10 Questions For Visa Extension, Renewal, or Change of Status:
A lot of individuals and families are asking whether or not they are eligible to apply for a Visa Extension. We are happy to help you determine if you are eligible to apply for a Visa Extension. Once we determine that you are eligible, we would start by applying with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It must be applied for before your authorized stay expires. Any individual who remains in the United States longer than what is authorized may be removed from the United States and barred from returning for an extended period of time.
To be eligible for a visa extension, you must comply with the following requirements:
- You are legally admitted entry in the United States using a non-immigrant visa;
- Your status as a non-immigrant remains valid and binding;
- You have not been questioned for any crimes nor did you commit any crimes;
- You did not violate any of the conditions of your admission; and
- Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay.
- When you are in the United States as an informant on terrorism or organized crime;
- When you are a crew member;
- When you applied for a fiancé visa;
- When you are in the United States through the Visa Waiver Program; and
- When you are in transit through the United States without a Visa.
If you comply with any of the above requirements, you may apply for a visa extension as you are eligible for it.
If you have been granted a United States Visa, your visa expiration date is shown along with the visa issuance date. Your United States visa should also show the visa validity. This is the most important part of your visa – the visa validity. It determines the length of time that you are permitted entry to the United States. Depending on different circumstances, an individual will be issued different entry levels to the United States such as a single entry or with multiple entries.
A visa expiration date means that the period beyond the visa validity, the individual is no longer eligible to enter the United States. Again, a United States visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. It is the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry each time that you enter the United States who determines the length of your authorized stay within your visa validity.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that being granted a visa does not mean that you will be granted a visa extension. Visa extension is also strict. Your visa validity is also not a guarantee that your visa will stay valid during the period. It can get voided or cancelled by the United States authorities.
If you decide to stay longer in the United States, you should keep in mind the following important points:
- Carefully consider the dates of your authorized stay;
- Make sure that you follow all of the procedures as required by your granted visa; and
- Make sure that you apply for an extension of your authorized stay before the visa expiration. The worst thing that you can do is to stay beyond the period that you are authorized to stay. The Department of Homeland Security can do removal proceedings and deport you if you stay beyond the authorized period. This step will make your ineligible for a visa that will bar any possibility of a future return to the United States for the determined period of time.
If you are looking for a reason why you have been denied for a visa, or why you have been denied a visa extension, the following are the “ineligibilities” that you may encounter when applying for a US Visa under the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA):
1. Health-Related Grounds. There are health reasons that will make an individual ineligible for a US Visa. The following persons are excluded for health reasons, such as:
- Drug abusers;
- Drug addicts;
- Persons afflicted with a communicable disease of public health significance; and
- Persons who have been determined to have a physical or mental disorder.
2. Criminal and Related Grounds. There are also individuals who are excluded and ineligible from a US Visa extension when they are found guilty of criminal and other related grounds. Aliens who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, those who are convicted of two or more offences and sentences to a confinement of 5 years or more, those who are traffickers of drugs, prostitutes, those engaged in trafficking of persons, and those engaged in money laundering are ineligible.
3. Terrorist Activities. It is not surprising that individuals who are found guilty or who were engaged in terrorist activities are also ineligible for the waiver. This would include the spouse and child of any alien inadmissible under the terrorist activities that are ineligible if the activity causing the alien to be found inadmissible occurred within the last 5 years.
4. Public Charge. Public charge grounds are also considered as an ineligibility. A public charge is “alien who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period.”
As required by Section 212(a)(4) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4), and by this final rule, when making a public charge inadmissibility determination, a USCIS officer must consider the following requirements:
- Family status;
- Assets, resources, and financial status;
- Education and skills;
- Prospective immigration status;
- Expected period of admission; and
- Sufficient Affidavit of Support.
5. There are also miscellaneous grounds, fraud or misrepresentation grounds, stowaways and alien smugglers as well are not eligible for waiver.
If you are seeking clarification on whether or not your ineligibility may be waived, the answer is yes. However, waivers of ineligibility are limited. These waivers are not available for most of the security grounds. An alien who has committed acts that constitute murder, torture, or an attempt thereof are not eligible for waiver of ineligibility. Before any kind of waiver, however, the reviewing officer must recommend the waiver to the DHS while the DHS still has the ultimate authority to grant or deny the waive
The USCIS has adjusted to cover the coronavirus situation. USCIS announced that they will consider a response that they received within 60 calendar days after the due date. In cases of the following requests or notice issued by USCIS between March 1, 2020 and September 11, 2020:
- Request for Evidence;
- Continuation to Request Evidence (N-14);
- Notice of Intent to Deny;
- Notice of Intent to Revoke;
- Notice of Intent to Rescind;
- Notice of Intent to Terminate; and
- Motion to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.
You may apply for a visa extension under special circumstances if you are stuck during the coronavirus pandemic. The USCIS recognizes that the applicant may need to extend his stay. If you are holding a temporary VISA and you need a Visa extension, you should apply for an extension or a change of status as soon as possible. The USCIS allows for online filing of the forms necessary and changes have been made in order to comply with the quarantine rules and the physical distancing rules.
According to the USCIS website whenever “a petitioner or applicant files an extension of stay or change of status request after the authorized period of admission expires, USCIS may excuse the failure to timely file if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as those that may be caused by COVID-19. The length of delay must be commensurate with the circumstances. The petitioner or applicant must submit credible evidence to support their request, which USCIS will evaluate in its discretion on a case-by-case basis. These special situations have been used at various times in the past, including for natural disasters and similar crises.”
The expedited processing of visa and visa extension is frowned upon by the USCIS. It is not part of their mandate to expedite the processing of visas. In the following circumstances, however, the USCIS may expedite the processing for visa extension:
- When there is severe financial loss to a company or person if the applicant’s visa extension is not allowed;
- Whenever there is urgent humanitarian reasons;
- When there is compelling United States government interest; or
- When there is a clear error on the part of the USCIS.
In case of denial of your request for a visa extension, there are two consequences that you need to know about:
- If your request is denied during the validity of your visa, you can enjoy the rest of your stay and leave before the expiration of your visa.
- If your request is denied after the validity of your visa, you need to leave the United States. There are some cases where the USCIS allows you to stay a period of 30 days from the date of the letter denying you of your visa extension. However, this period only means that you will have time to leave before getting deported, it is not a period to explore. During this period, your status is still under unauthorized stay in the United States.
Yes, you may appeal a denied visa extension. However, if you are already beyond the visa validity, you should leave the United States and then re-apply for a visa in your home country. Why? The United States system would show that you stayed beyond your authorized stay and you may end up getting denied for a new visa. Hence, while you can appeal your visa extension denial, make sure that you will do your best to leave the country as soon as possible so you can protect the possibility of coming back.