B visitors may be admitted to the United States for an initial period of no longer than 6 months, and may apply for extension if needed. The B classification is divided into two types, visitors for business (B-1) and visitors for pleasure (B-2). Under certain circumstances a B-2 visa can also be issued to prospective students. In addition, a B-1/B-2 visa is sometimes used.
To apply for an extension of either B-1 or B-2 status, the application to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) must include the following:
- Completed Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Spouses and unmarried children under 21 who are in the same status may be included in the extension application;
- $290 check or money order payable to "Department of Homeland Security". Note: Fee changes to $370 on 12/31/2016
- Copy of both sides of Form I-94 (white card usually stapled in passport);
- Letter addressed "To Whom It May Concern" which explains in detail the reasons for the extension; why the extended stay would be temporary; arrangements made to depart; and the effect the extended stay would have on the non-immigrant's foreign employment and residency; and
- Photocopy of the data pages in your passport.
Send completed application by certified mail with return receipt to:
U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Northern Service Center
P.O. Box 87539
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501-7539
The extension application should be filed before the authorized stay expires. BCIS suggests filing at least 45 days prior to the expiration. Late filing may be excused if due to extraordinary circumstances. If the application is late, address the reason(s) for delay in letter discussed in item #4 above.
An applicant for extension of stay may have to wait 3-6 months to learn the outcome of the application. Under these circumstances the individual may remain in the United States until the application is adjudicated. OISS suggests that an individual not contact BCIS regarding the status of such an application until a 90 day period has elapsed from the date the application was mailed to BCIS. All inquiries should be made in writing.
VISA WAIVER PILOT PROGRAM
An individual admitted under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program is not eligible for extension of stay, change to another nonimmigrant status, or adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident (except as an immediate relative).