The United States of America is one of the most amazing and diverse countries in the entire world. For anyone who wants to visit the United States, anyone who is a resident of a country on the Visa Waiver list can apply for an ESTA Visa, which will entitle them to enter the country for up to 90 days. However, in many cases, an individual may want to stay for a period longer than the initial 90 days. In some cases, tourists may want more time to see more of the country, while in other cases somebody may have found a job in the States and wish to stay for that reason.
Any individual who has been to the United States on a visitor’s visa is eligible to apply for an extension of stay in the US, although the decision of approval will be dependent on the reasons for the extension. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is keen to stamp out any cases of people who have no intention of returning to their home country and are simply abusing the Visa and renewal schemes.
Any application for an extension of the existing US Visa should be made within 45 days of its current expiration date. The expiration date refers to the date on the official form and not the date on the Visa stamp. It is also not possible to apply for an extension before the current Visa has even started, as the the USCIS may conclude that you are planning to stay longer, which would be contrary to what you initially declared in your initial Visa application.
Approval & Denial
Anybody who applies for an extension during their initial 90 day period will at least be considered for an extension. If an extension is denied, for any reason, the holder will be considered out of status and will need to leave the United States immediately. Anybody who stays beyond the expiration date of their Visa will be considered ‘unlawful presence’ and this may harm their chances of being approved a new Visa in the future.
The maximum extension you can apply for with justification is six months. It is not possible to apply for unlimited extensions to the country, the maximum overall stay as a visitor is one full year, however, it is also possible to apply for a Green card during this period if you want to extend your stay in the States for a longer period.