B2 Tourist Visa Extensions: How to Bullet proof your request not to get denied?

Recently we have seen many cases where Tourist Visa B2 extensions were denied by the Service. The rise in denials is concerning, but how can you increase your chances to get approved. Our very own Attorney Nadia Galash shares her experience in fighting B2 Tourist Visa denials.

Based on our experience working with responses to USCIS’s requests for additional evidence and motions to re-open/reconsider USCIS denials of requests for extensions on behalf of our clients, We can see that some factors are more important to prove to USCIS than others. Below is the overview of the requirements that any applicant should follow.

A B Visa visitor may apply for extensions of stay in six month increments. An extension of stay may not be approved if the extension was filed after the previously accorded status expired which may be excused at the discretion of USCIS. Extensions are not available to people who entered on visa waivers.

When an applicant is filing the Form I-539 for extension of status, he/she must submit, besides the Form I-94 of each person included in the applicant’s application, a written statement explaining in detail:
1. The reasons for his/her request;
2. Why his/her extended stay would be temporary, including what arrangements he/she has made to depart from the United States; and
3. Any effect the extended stay may have on his/her foreign employment or residency.

If this statement is in any language other than English language, the applicant must include a full English translation. The translator must certify that the translation is complete and accurate, and he/she is competent to translate from the foreign language to English. A summary of the statement prepared by a translator is not acceptable.

In this statement, an applicant must establish that he/she has a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of abandoning, where he/she will reside upon expiration of his/her B1/B2 visa, including the physical address of his/her residence abroad.

In other words, this statement must show that the applicant’s stay here, in the U.S., is temporary, and he/she maintains a bona fide intent to return home after expiration of his/her B1/B2 visa. For example, the applicant may provide the proof that he/she owns a house/condo in his/her home country, or that he/she lives with his/her parents, and a copy of a back home ticket with a certain date.

It is also good to provide proof that he/she is gainfully employed in his/her home country, or he/she is a college student there. Additionally, it is very important to provide some recent financial documents showing that he/she can support himself/herself during his/her stay in the U.S. I want to stress the importance of providing evidentiary support for the applicant’s B-2 extension.

Next, it is very important that the applicant submit an application for extension of stay before his/her current authorized stay expires. USCIS suggests to file the application at least 45 days before his/her stay expires.

However, the failure to file before the expiration date may be excused if the applicant can demonstrate that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond his/her control; the length of the delay was reasonable; he/she has not otherwise violated his/her status; he/she is still a bona fide nonimmigrant; and he/she is not in removal proceedings. See 8 C.F.R. Sec. 248.1(b) and Instructions
We highly advise any applicant to timely file requests for extension. Then, even if the applicant’s authorized stay (as shown on his/her I-94 card) expires, he/she is in authorized status but not lawfully present after the expiration of his/her current I-94 card. If the extension is granted, lawful presence will relate back to the timely filing of I-539. If the extension is denied, the applicant will be normally given a period of 30 days to leave the U.S. voluntarily.

The most common reason for denial is that USCIS feels that the applicant is merely trying to prolong his/her U.S. stay indefinitely. The applicant has to leave within this timeframe; otherwise, the removal proceedings and deportation may be initiated against the non-compliant applicant. The removal proceedings and deportation could make it very difficult for the applicant to re-enter the U.S. in the near future.

If you have further questions about B2 and other Non Immigrant Visa extensions, feel free to email us at anytime.