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Maintaining and Extending Nonimmigrant Status in the U.S.

By Edited Jul 25, 2016 0 1

Our immigration laws were drafted with the intent of regulating the immigration of people into this country. Another group of people, however, do not have any intent of immigrating to the U.S. but instead come for other various temporary stays. These group of people, nonimmigrants, often face problems concerning their nonimmigrant status, which will be the focus of this article.

A nonimmigrant may only engage in activities consistent with the visa they hold. In general, a nonimmigrant is admitted into the country for a specified amount of time, but may request that time to be extended. Certain classes of visas are not eligible for extensions however, namely C, D, K, WT, WB and TWOV.

Extension filings are often accompanied with relevant documents, such as copies of passports. Different types of eligible visa classes however, may demand unique requirements. Nonimmigrants with B-1 and B-2 status must provide a written explanation for why the extension is needed, for example. Other visa classes also have unique intricacies and research should be conducted to determine if the underlying visa class requires anything further than a filing.

All applications for extensions are determined by the discretion of the director. In reaching a conclusion, the adjudicator reviewing the application may weigh different factors to determine whether the applicant intends to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. Factors include the applicant's age, health, occupation, living situation, means to depart the country, finances and other considerations.

Most nonimmigrant visa holders will have to demonstrate an intent to return home. This also includes a showing of means to travel home as well. U.S.C.I.S. may judge from the finances that the applicant does not have enough money to stay in the United States and deny a foreign exchange student visa, for example. The H-1 and L visa classes do not require a showing of a foreign residence however, despite overt actions hinting permanent residency. 

Requests for additional evidence are uncommon however, as is the need to interview the applicant. It is possible that U.S.C.I.S. may reopen a case for re-review and deny the extension after granting it however. There is no appeal from adverse decisions.

Likewise, different visa classes may require more than one copy of the extension application to be filed if the beneficiary has nonimmigrant children also in the country. The beneficiary's dependents may be included in a single application if for an I-129 and there is only one principal alien. If there are more than one, then multiple extension applications will need to be filed.

Applications for extensions are usually adjudicated quickly since the relevant time period is short. Decisions, as a result, are also answered fairly quickly as well. 




Mar 3, 2011 1:41pm
Well written and very informative.
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