How to Extend Your Visa With the Form I-539

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Form I-539: Application to extend/change nonimmigrant status

Every day a million of foreigners come to the USA to work, travel or visit relatives. Of course, they must have legal permission to stay in the country. At the moment, there are more than 185 types of US visas, that can be divided into 2 main groups: nonimmigrant and immigrant visas (“green card”). Individuals who don’t intend to obtain the status of a permanent resident must obtain nonimmigrant visas. For example, students and contract workers should receive such a visa. In most cases, they will need to complete the visa application before entering the USA. If a nonimmigrant visa expires or the individuals want to change their status (to nonimmigrant), they should fill out the Application to extend/change nonimmigrant status, form I-539. Let’s see how we should complete this application.

Who needs an I-539 form?

This form is used to extend or change the non-immigrant status of an individual. The nonimmigrant visas include student, work or visitor visas.

What is the form I-539  for?

As mentioned above, this form serves as an application for extending or changing nonimmigrant status. The application is usually completed by foreign students, workers, or visitors from overseas who have relatives in the US. The information provided in the form is used by the Department of the Homeland Security to make a decision on the applicant’s case.

What documents must accompany the form I-539?

This application must be supported by other documents. Usually, these are Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record), the documents which certify the financial stability of the applicant, and the application for a new nonimmigrant status. The applicant should also attach the proof of payment of the filing fee (if required).

How long does it take to fill the form I-539  out?

The estimated time for completing the form is 20 minutes. The applicant must complete the form before the expiration date of their visa or when there is a need to do it.

What information should be provided in the form I-539 ?

The form consists of several parts which should be filled in:

  • Part I – Applicant’s personal information (name, address, country of birth, date of birth, SSN, date of the last arrival into the US, I-94 Number, current nonimmigrant status, date of expiration);
  • Part 2 – Application type (check the appropriate box);
  • Part 3 – Processing the information (check the appropriate box and fill out the lines);
  • Part 4 – Additional information about the applicant (passport number, foreign address, questions about the applicant’s background);
  • Part 5 – Applicant’s statement and signature (this part contains the signature, date, name, email address, and telephone of the applicant); and
  • Part 6 – Interpreter’s Statement (if required).

Supplement 1 (should be attached to the form if more than one person is included in the application).
If the applicant needs additional space, a separate sheet of paper should be attached.

What do I do with the form after its completion?

The completed and signed petition is forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security.