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Author Topic: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)  (Read 546 times)

TonyL

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UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« on: May 21, 2020, 04:23:38 PM »
When we originally travelled out to the USA, we intended to go into Canada from about mid June until around September , then re-enter the USA thinking our 6 month I94 would be reset by entering Canada
THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT THE CASE! You must leave North America completely.
As we do not fancy flying in July when our current I94 will expire due to Covid 19, we have applied to extend our visa using I539.
Currently, you must use the most recent version of the form dated 10/15/19, earlier forms are not accepted. If submitting online, each person will be required to pay $340. the main applicant will use form I539, each additional applicant in the group (Spouse, child) will need to complete form I539A. If you submit by post, you will only pay $340 to include all applicants. In addition, each applicant will need to pay $85 for a Biometric interview.
The address you send the form to differs depending on the postage carrier, USPS posting goes to Dallas. Once they acknowledge receipt of the forms, you may stay in the USA and assume your request has been granted, until you are notified differently. If you are paying by credit or debit card, you will need to complete form G1450. You will also need to include a written statement as to why you want to extend, why it will not affect your employment, proof that you have financial means to cover your stay, and that you intend to return to your home address at the end (copy of flight booking)
On the USCIS website, form M752 will give tips on completing you application.
As our case progresses, we will update this topic to help anyone else considering extending their stay.
TonyL

jackiemac

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 06:13:15 PM »
Thanks Tony, this is useful info as we may extend ours at some point, if we ever get back 🤯
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Back in the UK til who knows....

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 06:17:12 PM »
Thanks for the update Tony. Others have successfully used form I-539 to extend their stay, but the rules continuously change.

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... then re-enter the USA thinking our 6 month I94 would be reset by entering Canada
THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT THE CASE! You must leave North America completely.
That's a change in procedure/rules, and may be because it was being abused. We (I) previously reported stories of Brits being denied entry when they attempted multiple successive entries.

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Once they acknowledge receipt of the forms, you may stay in the USA and assume your request has been granted, until you are notified differently
Yes, that has been the case, and the way it was explained online. Glad to hear it's still a valid process.

The current political climate is not friendly on the immigration front, but understandable given what we see on the West coast.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 06:20:20 PM by Tom »
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TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 06:19:56 PM »
Hi Tom,
hopefully they will realise that we are not immigrants but tourists as per B2 status!

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 06:31:53 PM »
Quote from: TonyL
hopefully they will realise that we are not immigrants but tourists as per B2 status!


Understood Tony, I was using "immigrants" in the broader, generic context. Historically, countless people have arrived on some kind of tourist visa but didn't leave.

It was always mind boggling to me to realize that there was no equivalent of UK "passport control" to document/verify that folks actually left. I don't know if this has changed.

We also have a reported 10M people who arrived without legal documents; They hopped over the fence, swam across, or simply walked across an insecure border.
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TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 06:39:52 PM »
Tom, the I94 I referred to is an arrival departure record. Obviously it only applies to legitimate forms of travel. When we arrived via Miami back in January, we were surprised that our passports were not stamped with the departure date written in. If you go online (as a non-immigrant) CSA has a facility that allows you to check not only your recent arrival and departure dates, but history of entry and departure for the last 5 years. At one time you completed a travel disclosure form on the flight and declared any food, cash etc. Now it seems it is up to you to self declare as you are processed. We only found this out when we asked passport control where we declare food.

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2020, 08:55:25 PM »
Thanks Tony.
Quote
... the I94 I referred to is an arrival departure record. Obviously it only applies to legitimate forms of travel.
I'm very familiar with the 1-94, having filled out many of them over the years (I started travelling from the UK to the US & back in the 70's). For many years, the paper I94 was stapled in your passport by the Customs & Immigration official on arrival in the US. Then, when you departed the US (to return home), the I-94 was lifted from your passport by the airline check-in person when you checked in for your departing flight.

Some years ago an immigration lawyer explained that the 'lifted' I94s were all sent to an office near the Mexican border, supposedly to enter the date of departure in a computer at some later date. I never heard of anyone going looking for someone who didn't leave.

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If you go online (as a non-immigrant) CSA has a facility that allows you to check not only your recent arrival and departure dates, but history of entry and departure for the last 5 years.


Aye, that's something relatively new, maybe in the last 5-8 years, and was discussed in a prior topic, but I'm losing track of time. 

It's always interesting to read the latest info on the visa and arrival/departure process. Updates like yours will also be helpful to others in the future. However, I always encourage people to read the latest rules at the official sites before they leave home.

For the record, I/we always did things by the book, whether it be I-94 forms, B1/B2 visas, L1 visas, green cards (i.e. resident alien cards), work authorization, naturalization, etc. Same for folks we sponsored as immigrants into the US. Also for travel documents for numerous other countries.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 08:57:23 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 10:22:25 AM »
Quote from: Tom
It's always interesting to read the latest info on the visa and arrival/departure process.


Reflecting on this discussion last night, I recalled the not-so-tech process from the 70's and maybe early 80's; The customs/border agents at US airports had large 8-10 inch think 'black books', and manually thumbed through them to see if you were on the list of undesirables before letting you enter the US. It was some time before they manually typed your info into a computer, and yet more time before they could merely scan your passports. Nowadays I believe/suspect they scan a chip.

Technology marches on.
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Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 12:17:21 PM »
Also by contrast ... on one of our trips to the homeland, we merely waved our passports to the passport control officers on arrival at Heathrow. Without even taking or reading them, one of them said "that's good enough for us, welcome back".
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Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 12:25:51 PM »
Quote from: TonyL
... we were surprised that our passports were not stamped with the departure date written in.

Tony, the significance of that comment just hit me as I re-read your message. How do they document or communicate to the traveller the time they can stay in the US? I understand that B1/B2 visas allow up to 6 months, but the actual time allowed for a given visit was always determined by the agent on arrival; He just didn't have the authority to grant longer than the 6 months maximum.
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TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2020, 01:53:56 PM »
Tom, when we entered, we thought it was just passport control and that we would reach immigration after. it was only after we collected our baggage that we realised there was no other checks and were worried that we might have missed immigration. However, the chances of passing through an airport from an international flight without control I would hope would be impossible. It was only when we looked at our I94 that we found out how long we could stay. Whilst at passport control, the official was taking photo and prints from some passengers. When it was our turn, I asked if she needed our photos and prints, she smiled and said "no, your family now" and sent us on our way. Go figure!!!!!

TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 02:15:25 PM »
The B2 visa does not grant a traveller the right to enter the USA. It is up  to the border official to decide admissibility and for how long up to the maximum permitted on the visa. The first time we travelled with the visa, we flew via Toronto. The US border officer asked us why we needed a visa as opposed to a visa waiver, much the same as we were asked when we attended our interview for the visa. When we explained why (reduced flights, extended travel) he stamped our passports and wrote the date in. He could probably also see that our return flights were booked in six months. We thought that would be the norm. As Tom says, unless they convey and confirm how long you may enter for, how is the traveller to know how long they can stay, especially as our return flight was booked for November, an alarm bell should have rang with the CBP official.

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2020, 02:30:41 PM »
Quote from: TonyL
The B2 visa does not grant a traveller the right to enter the USA. It is up  to the border official to decide admissibility and for how long up to the maximum permitted on the visa.
100% correct Tony, and something I've explained numerous times here and elsewhere to would-be visitors to the US. I've lost count of the Brits who have announced "I have my B2 visa, so I'm good for 6 months in the USA".

Meanwhile, as we go forward, I expect a lot more changes in the process.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.
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TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2020, 02:33:58 PM »
The strange thing is their costs to process. Send it online and it costs more than printing and sending in the post! Most things nowadays are cheaper online.

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2020, 02:49:01 PM »
Tony, I learned a long time ago not to look for logic in these things. I have countless stories that I won't go into here; Maybe around the campfire one day.
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TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2020, 03:06:33 PM »
At a social distance of course ;)

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2020, 03:26:56 PM »
     Tony, one of the difficulties of your original plan is that the Canada/US border is closed down to any non vital travel due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  Only those who have business reasons to cross either way are allowed, hence you would not be allowed into Canada, nor back into the US if you somehow managed to cross.  That agreement went into effect in March, and has been extended twice by mutual agreement of both governments.


Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2020, 03:39:56 PM »
hi Ed, when we planned our trip for this year, Covid was not on the agenda, so travel into Canada was quite possible. My point was had Covid not occurred, if we crossed the border and then tried to re-enter the USA in September, we would have been classed as an overstay and could have jeopardised our visa. We didn't know when we planned that time spent in Canada is all part of your 6 months granted on the B2 visa.

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2020, 04:38:44 PM »
     I know different rules apply to Canadians, but if we leave the US for 30 days or more, it does not count on our 6 month tourist allocation.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2020, 05:06:47 PM »
Quote from: Hfx_Cdn
... we leave the US for 30 days or more, it does not count on our 6 month tourist allocation.
Just curious Ed ... if you re-enter the US after being away for 30 or more days, do they restart the clock on the 6 months? This was previously the case for e.g. Brits visiting the US, and I think they closed that loop because of abuse, e.g. folks trying to get 12 or 18 months in the US with only brief excursions to Canada.

Also, for clarification, are you talking about a US B2 visa (or equivalent), or the 6 months you're allowed under CDN social security rules?
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2020, 09:06:45 AM »
     Tom, as has been covered in various previous strings, it is a very convoluted set of laws and interpretations.  There are no formal visa requirements for tourist between Canada and the US, it is deemed an informal one by the respective country's border guard upon entry.
     There are 2 areas of concern for Canadians entering the US and they have differing rules.  Canadians tourists are allowed 6 months entry in any given year, with the year defined as a rolling 12 month period.  So when we cross say on December 1st, we must leave by June 1st, unless we leave the US for 30 consecutive days.  Or as some do, they cross stay 2 months, leave for a month, cross again etc, but still need to keep track of their number of days to ensure the maximum 6 months with the 12 month rolling year is not exceeded.  There never used to be any tracking, but Homeland Security now requires Canadian border patrol to electronically advise US border patrol when we return.
     The second set of rules that need to be followed are the US IRS requirement that all "residents" must submit an income tax return on world wide income.  Their definition is 184 days calculated as 100% of the current year, 33% of the preceding year, and 17% of the second preceding year, however they will allow exemptions of filing upon the filing a Form 8840, (Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens), again there are several strings dealing with its submissions. 
     Forum Staff member Stu has done a good job explaining both of these requirements, some are in the Library, and others are within strings.
     A common misconception is that Canadian health ceases after 6 months out of province.  While that was previously true, many provinces have extended that deadline to 7 months, and one has gone to 8 months.  Plus many allow extensions upon written request.
     Sorry for the long answer to a short question, but it is a complicated issue.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2020, 09:17:06 AM »
Thanks for the reminders Ed, and one or two 'new to me' items, e.g. the 6 months to 7 or 8 on the CDN side. I must admit to not having kept up with the rules for Canadians.

Quote
... US IRS requirement that all "residents" must submit an income tax return on world wide income.
Aye, I remember that one all too painfully. We paid income tax in 2 countries for some time. It took a lot of work to resolve and, when we got the UK Inland Revenue sorted out, we got into a protracted dialog with the (US) IRS; They eventually admitted they were wrong and dropped all actions, but only after notifying us they were about to seize (our) property.

Back in the day, there was something called a "sailing permit", which required the IRS to verify you'd paid all your owed taxes before you could legally leave the US. I don't recall getting tangled in one of those situations.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 09:20:47 AM by Tom »
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UK-RV

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2020, 07:36:25 AM »
Things have certainly changed since our Tour.

Back then we did as little as 2 weeks in Canada before crossing back in to the US - we must have "border hopped" probably 7 or 8 times in all.

We had the B2 for our arrival in Florida in the January, had it re-stamped for a further 6 months on one of the crossings and then sent off the extension request for an extra month we needed to sort shipping of the RV.

We were only advised once where the border officer suggested we couldn't cross the border again so quickly - but it had no effect when we next did (there didnt seem to be any record kept of the conversation).

We were once sat in the waiting room at the main border crossing nr Niagara Falls for 4 hours wondering if we were facing any trouble - but it just turned out they had put our paperwork on a side desk and forgotten about us.

The RV was still in Canada but we took the car across the border to see the US side (by which time we had no time left for it and immediately turned round and crossed back into Canada again.

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2020, 09:49:53 AM »
Aye Paul, and thanks for those comments/recollections. I expect ongoing changes in the rules, the process, and enforcement, especially given the administration's increased sensitivity to folks coming in (legally) and staying here; There's a very real concern that some will end up living off the state.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 09:27:50 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2020, 10:03:59 AM »
FWIW one of the differences in process I've observed since we first had US visas stamped in our UK passports (while still living in the UK) was that we didn't need to visit a US embassy or consulate; It was all done by mail, possibly because they were B1/B2 visas (B1 = business travellers, B2 = tourist).

OTOH the current ESTA process can all be done online. ESTA is the visas waiver program for short-term (3 months max) visas, with no extensions allowed. A couple of our (my) UK visitors reported that the ESTA process was relatively simple to complete. Other visitors (of ours) had to visit the US embassy for their B2. I wonder if ESTA will eventually be discontinued, given the current/new immigration climate.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 09:27:10 PM by Tom »
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TonyL

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2020, 10:26:51 AM »
When we applied for our visas last year, you completed the forms and submitted online. After about 48 hours we could then book an appointment at the US Embassy in London for an interview. The whole process from form submission to receiving our passports with the Visas only took about 2 weeks. We also had Visa waivers due to having been in Seattle during 2018. We didn't know if we still needed them so renewed them before we flew. If you have a visa, we were told by immigration that you do not need a visa waiver, but they only cost about 14$.

Tom

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Re: UPDATE ON EXTENDING B2 VISA (I539)
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2020, 11:27:40 AM »
Quote from: TonyL
... we were told by immigration that you do not need a visa waiver...
That's correct. I'd be concerned about the two applications (B2 and ESTA) running interference with each other in the US online system.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 09:25:14 PM by Tom »
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