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COVID-19 Court Update 04/02/2020 

Extensions of Stay & Change of Status

New Jersey Immigration Law Attorneys Fighting for You

One of the exciting factors of the United States nonimmigrant categories is that many of them allow for an extension, and some may even be updated to obtain permanent residency after a change of status is updated into a green card, and then possibly U.S. citizenship years down the line.

Many of them, however, do not allow for a change of status, just for a necessary extension of stay, and it’s important to know what options are available and where the limitations lie under the various visa categories. There are dozens of them, but a New Jersey immigration lawyer can help in your particular case.

Extending the Stay on Your Temporary Visa

While there are many different visa categories, most of them highly specialized, that are too exhaustive to arrange in full, one of the most common visas are H-3 trainee visas, and these will serve as our example for the time being. H-3 trainees can only stay in the U.S. for a period of 2 years. This means that your original petition was less than two years, and that added with the extension would still be less than 2 years.

In order to apply, we will need to help you fill out the following paperwork:

  • A letter explaining why more time is needed to complete the training
  • A Form I-94 showing the record of your arrival and departure record
  • A Form I-797 showing the beneficiary’s first notice of action

If you brought a spouse or dependent with you into the United States, they will need to also submit an application to change their status or extend their stay with a Form I-539.

Changing the Status of Your Temporary Visa

If you originally entered the United States on a more specialized visa, such as a student visa or one along those lines, you may be able to change the status of it to an H-3 and receive the benefits pertaining to it.

To be qualified for a change of status, the following statements must be true:

  • You originally entered the United States legally.
  • You’ve never worked illegally in the United States.
  • You’ve never broken the terms of your visa.
  • You have not yet passed the expiration date on your I-94,

For more information pertaining to your particular visa and the options you may or may not have to extend the stay or change the status, call our New Jersey immigration law offices today at (800) 909-8129.

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Common Questions

  • Q:I live in the US and I am marrying a US citizen. How can I get a green card and become a permanent resident?

    A:Assuming you have entered the US with a visa or are protected by an old law called 245i, you may be eligible to adjust status to receive a green card from within the US. If you have been illegally present for more than 6 months, you cannot travel until the green card is in hand. Current processing time is about 5-7 months.

  • Q:I am a fiancé(e) of a US citizen and I am living outside the US. How can I enter the US to marry?

    A:Your fiancée must apply for a Fiancée Visa, also known as the K-1 Visa. The visa is for parties who have physically met within the past two years, have an intent to marry, and can document a relationship together. The visa is only for those who are residing abroad and cannot be used if the alien is in the US. The application is filed from within the US and when approved, will be forwarded to the American Consular where the alien fiancée will apply for the visa and be interviewed by an officer - usually about 8-12 months from the date of filing.

  • Q:I live outside the US and I married a US citizen. How can I come to the US to live?

    A:To enter the US after a marriage to a US Citizen, you would go through Consular Processing. Paperwork would be filed in the US and forwarded to the embassy abroad to schedule an interview. The processing time frame from start to finish is between 9-11 months, depending on the embassy abroad. The process is document-intensive and requires careful attention to detail.

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