All applications must be filed with all of the following documentation.
- Form I-539 (see I-539 Sample form for instructions on how to fill it out)
- Supplement to Form I-539 – This must be completed whenever more than one person, such as a spouse or child under age 21, are to be co-applicants in the extension request. If your application is only for yourself, this form is not necessary.
- Application Fee - $290, make payable to “Department of Homeland Security”
- I-94 card – Print out a copy of your electronic I-94 number or if you have a paper I-94, enclose a photocopy of the front and back the I-94.
- Passport – Enclose a photocopy of the personal data pages of your passport, including the one(s) showing the expiration date.
- U.S. Visa – Enclose a photocopy of your passport page containing your U.S. visa and any other pages with U.S. immigration stamps or endorsements.
- Evidence of Financial Support – This may include evidence of your own finances to be used during your stay in the U.S., or evidence of a family member’s or friend’s finances if they will be providing financial support during your stay. Photocopies of bank statements are usually acceptable as evidence.
- A written statement – Your statement must address all of the following: (1) Why you are making the extension request (2) What evidence you have that your stay will be temporary, including any information or documentation about arrangements you have made for departing the U.S. (for example, photocopies of return airline tickets) amd (3) If relevant, what effect your stay will have on your foreign employment or residency
Optional – If you want to receive an email or text that the USCIS has received your application, include Form G-1145. Be sure to attach this form to the first page of your application packet.
A note to students/scholars about mailing addresses: Since the response coming back from the USCIS will be addressed to your parents (or whoever you are staying with), there may be some confusion when the postal delivery person does not find their names on your mailbox. For this reason the persons applying for an extension should list “c/o FRIEND/FAMILY MEMBER’S NAME” along with your address in their application material. Otherwise the mail could be considered undeliverable and returned to USCIS.
Where do I send my application?
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
When to File
You must submit your application BEFORE your current F-1 status expires; if at all possible, submit it at least 45 days before the expiration of your current status. If you are out of status for any reason, or have reason to think you might be, please make an appointment to see an ISSS advisor before submitting your application to the USCIS. You may need a referral to an immigration lawyer.
If USCIS accepts your application, you should receive a Form I-797 Notice of Action within two to four weeks. The Notice of Action is very important because it proves that you filed your application and because it shows a number you may use to track your application’s progress. If you do not receive a Notice of Action within five weeks, please notify ISSS.
If your application is incomplete, it will be sent back to you and you will be given the opportunity to furnish whatever is missing.
Your Notice of Action will give an estimated processing time for your application. Please see the next section on “Important Information” on what to do if the extension request is not authorized before your current stay expires.
You should keep the Notice of Action. The notice of action contains important information you might need later.
You should understand that the USCIS sometimes requires six months or more to process applications for extension of stay in B-1 or B-2 status. To be sure you have no problems related to your B-2 status or to obtaining a U.S. visa later, you will want to remember the following:
- It is possible for this to happen: You apply for a six-month extension. Five months later, you still have no decision on your application. You want to be sure your status is legal and you want to remain in the United States beyond the six months that you initially applied for. What to do if this happens: Apply for another extension, even though the earlier application is still pending. Follow the same procedure as you did the first time, except that you should include a photocopy of the Notice of Action from the earlier application and you also include a note saying that your earlier application is still pending.
- It is possible for this to happen: You apply for a six-month extension. After your current permission to stay in the United States has expired, but before the USCIS has acted on your application, you decide to leave the United States. What to do if this happens: Take your Notice of Action with you and be prepared to show it to the consular officer if in the future you apply for another U.S. visa. The reason for this: The consular officer may want to be sure that you applied for the extension before your previous stay had expired and had therefore been in the United States legally.