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Author Topic: Extending B2 visa - I-539 by post, ICE office in person or crossing the border?  (Read 3516 times)

thesmiths

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Hi there.  Am looking through the minefield that is visas etc.  We are hoping to do a 6-12 month road trip - length as yet undecided but almost definitely more than 6 months. 

Which way would be the best to extend our B2 visa?  I see on here that someone sent off the I-539 by post just before their B2 expired, thereby probably giving them another 6 months before the I-539 came through (depending on how quickly they get round to it), at an ICE office in person or by crossing the border and coming back in again?

With an ICE office in person, as long as you are polite etc are you pretty much likely to get your extension?  Will they give you what you ask for or is there a set length they extend for?

With crossing the border, does it count going into Mexico for a week/2 weeks (thinking of going to the Riviera Maya)?  How likely is it that upon our return, we would get an extension?  Will they class this as taking the mickey a bit and possibly not extend it?

All the above choices assume we can prove we have sufficient funds to carry on etc etc.

Any help gratefully received.  Thanks!

Tom

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From the horse's mouth, instructions for filing an I-539.

Any US port of entry should be fine.

Quote
How likely is it that upon our return, we would get an extension?

A re-entry after leaving the US (to go to Mexico, Canada or the UK) is not an extension per se; It's treated as a fresh entry. An extension (using the I-539) means you didn't leave.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 11:35:12 AM by Tom »
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thesmiths

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Thanks very much Tom!  I think I'm just concerned that if we went out of the country and then back in again (to gain say another 6 months) perhaps they wouldn't extend it for some reason, or they didn't like the fact we did that just to get an extension.  However I assume a lot of people must do this ... I'm just pessimistic!

Tom

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Yes, lots of people do it. I wouldn't sweat it unless you were planning to do it several times in succession, or if you tried to go over and back the same day. Technically/legally, there's nothing actually wrong with either scenario. But they raise a red flag and, since any decision is up to the border agent on the spot, s/he could decide to not let you in.
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Tom

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The How do I extend my non-immigrant stay? document linked on the USCIS site has an interesting comment I wasn't aware of:

"If we receive your application before your status expires  .... you may continue your previously approved activities in the United States .... for a maximum of 240 days, or until the first of the following occurs:
  • We make a decision on your application; or
  • The reason for your extension has been accomplished."

That suggests that, as long as you file the I-539 before your I-94 expires (i.e. before your six months is up), you could continue to stay here for up to an additional 8 months, unless/until they notify you otherwise.
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thesmiths

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Thanks very much Tom. 

 

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