What are the downsides for applying for an extension of status or a change of status?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, Immigration Lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
Today, we're talking about non-immigrant visas, where people have come to the United States, usually on a B-1, B-2 business or travel visa, and they want to extend that visa. So typically, you would do that by filing a form called I-539.
And in the old days, I-539's were very easy to get approved. They sort of went right through the process and got approved relatively quickly. But over the past few years, we've been seeing a crackdown on extensions of visa and changes of visa.
So it's much less likely that you're going to get that approved. Most extensions of status are being denied. And in fact, what's happening is that we're getting requests for evidence almost immediately upon the filing of the I-539.
Now, I was talking to a couple from China the other day on Skype, and they told me, "Oh, we know all these people who've been able to get extensions of status." And I think that's probably not accurate.
I think most are extensions of status, and that's where you've come to the United States, they've given you six months to stay, and then towards the end of those six months, you ask for more time.
So most of those requests are denied, unless you can show a real compelling reason as to why you need to say longer. If you can demonstrate your ability to support yourself and pay for yourself while you're here, that would help.
But the fact of the matter is, the current administration doesn't want immigrants in the United States, and so one way to do that is by immediately upon the filing of a request to extend status, I-539, or to change status, like if you wanted to try to become a student, is to send out a request for evidence and to make it harder.
You also have to maintain your status while your request is pending. So it's really a catch-22, and most people are not going to be able to pull this off.
So the downside of filing that, and that's sort of the point of the video, is that if you have a onetime visa and you need to go get another visa later, or if you have family members who want to come to the United States and they disclose that they know you and you didn't go back on time, not going back on time, the government, the US government sort of views or treats it as a breach of contract.
That you promised us that you were going to come to the United States, that you were going to leave six months later, and then you ended up wanting to change your status or to stay longer.
And so for the most part, even if you get it approved, maybe this one time, it might make it harder for you ever to get another visit visa to the United States.
And in fact, it might even make it harder for your family members to come to the United States. So we see this a lot when people file for an extension, and then their mother or father try to come to see them or whatever, and those family members get denied.
So it's a tricky situation. For the most part, our recommendation is going to be that you leave at the time that you promised that you would, and then you only file for an extension for very, very, very compelling reasons, like medical emergencies or things like that.
We hope you found this video helpful. If you did, give us a call at (314) 961-8200.
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