U.S. immigration rules on extending your visit

There is little more exciting than being impulsive and changing established plans on the spur of the moment. Unfortunately, if it involves extending a stay south of the border, U.S. immigration laws may not be so accommodating. However, if a British Columbia visitor in the United States is less impulsive, timely applications may secure an extended stay.

The conditions for such applications include possession of a valid non-immigrant visa, along with a valid passport that will not expire during the extended stay. The application for extension of a non-immigrant status must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who will also check whether the applicant had violated the original admission conditions and had not committed any crimes during the visit to the United States. Holders of certain types of visas will not be considered for extended stays.

The date on which a person's authorized visit will expire is indicated on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94). Authorities advise those who want to apply for extended stays to start the process approximately 45 days before that expiration date. Any non-immigrant who remains in the United States unauthorized while awaiting approval to stay longer could be deported and prevented from returning.

Due to these visa requirements and time-consuming application proceedings, an impulsive choice to extend a stay in the United States may not be a good idea. Proper planning and the help of an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer may be the way to go. A lawyer whose practice focuses on British Columbia residents travelling to the United States will know the latest immigration laws of both countries, and he or she can explain which visa-holders will be barred from applications to extend their stays.

Source: uscis.gov, "Extend Your Stay", Accessed on Dec. 15, 2017

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