Non-immigrant visas are meant for foreign nationals who seek to stay temporarily in the United States. These non-immigrant visas are not permanent visas and the foreign nationals who enter into America as non-immigrants will have to leave the country before the expiration of their authorized period of stay and it is illegal to overstay the visas. Citizens of foreign countries can travel to the United States for various purposes, including, tourism, medical treatment, education and employment.
If you hold a non-immigrant visa and if you need to stay back in America for few more days, beyond the date indicated on your departure record, you can file an application to extend your stay in the country. To extend your stay, you need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status and this form must be filed around 45 days prior to the date of expiration of your authorized stay. You need to check the date that is printed on your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record and your authorized stay will expire on that date. Hence, if you need to stay back in the country after that date, you will have to file Form I-539, in advance.
If your application is approved, you may be permitted to stay back in the country for six more months and you may file Form I-539, to extend your stay, if you hold a M-1, M-2, F-1, B-1 or a B-2 visa. You may also use Form I-539, if you seek to change your status to some other non-immigrant status. You can extend your stay only if the visa with which you entered into America is still valid and if you have not committed any crimes. Your application for extension may not be accepted, if you have violated the terms of your admission and if your passport is about to expire.
Right time to file Form I-539
You will be required to complete Form I-94, when you arrive at a US port of entry and Form I-94 will show the date and time of your arrival and the date on which you will have to leave the country. Hence, you will have to apply for an extension, 45 days before the expiration date that is found on your departure record. If you fail to file this form and if you overstay your visa, you will be deported from the country and so it is mandatory to file Form I-539 at the right time and you may complete this form online.