Most holders of US nonimmigrant visas are allowed to stay in the United States for a limited time. If they want to stay in the United States for more than the time specified in their visa, they need to renew their visa. The US visa renewal is similar to the visa application process.
In this article, we try to answer the following questions: How to renew a US visa? Who is eligible for a visa extension? What documents need to be prepared? How much does it cost to renew a visa? And how long is the extended visa valid?
What is a US Visa Extension?
If you have a US nonimmigrant visa, you may need to renew it. You can stay in the United States longer using a visa extension. However, not all US visa holders are allowed to renew it. For example, holders of the following visas cannot renew their visas:
- People traveling to the United States under a visa waiver program
- Holders of Crew member visa (D visa)
- People who have a US transit visa (C visa)
- Holders of K visas
- Holders of S nonimmigrant visa
- Those who in transit through the US without a visa (TWOV)
Who are eligible to renew their US visas?
If you are planning to renew your visa, you should consider the following:
- You are only allowed to renew the visa you previously had. For example, if you currently have a US visitor visa, you can apply for a B visa extension, not another visa.
- If you intended to change your current visa to another status and your application has been rejected, you will no longer be able to renew your current visa.
- The visa you intend to renew must be for multiple entries and be valid for more than one year
- You will also need to fulfill all the requirements for the visa you intend to renew.
- When renewing your visa, you must first return to your home country and then apply for a visa extension. You cannot extend your visa in the United States.
What are the steps of the US visa renewal process?
The steps for renewing a US visa are:
Depending on the type of your nonimmigrant visa, you have to pay for the application fee. All these payments are similar to those you made during the visa application process. Your visa application will not be considered until you have made the payments.
The DS-160 Form
The DS-160 online application form must be completed. “What are the US Visa Requirements?” contains information on how to download and complete this form. You can also complete this form through the Consular Electronic Application Center.
At this step, you must prepare the necessary documents and submit them to the US Embassy. If you have an interview waiver, all you have to do is mailing the following documents:
- Passport: It must be valid for six months from the date of your intended departure from the United States
- Expired passports: If you previously had a passport with a US visa, you must provide it.
- Photo: You must provide two photos to renew your visa.
- Form DS-160 Confirmation Page: After filling out the online form, a page will appear that you need to save.
- Receipt of payments
- Fingerprint: Your fingerprint must be taken at the US embassy to renew your visa. To do this, you must make an appointment at the embassy.
- Supporting documents: Depending on your visa type, you may need to provide more documentation.
When renewing your visa, you will need to attend an interview. This interview is similar to the one you did in the pre-visa process. People who are eligible for a visa interview waiver do not need to schedule an interview, and all they have to do is the submission of the mentioned documents to the embassy.
According to the Interview Waiver Program (IWP), some holders of nonimmigrant visas are exempt from conducting interviews under certain conditions. Applicants for A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas, for example, do not need to be interviewed to renew their visas. Elderly over the age of 80 and under the age of 14 are also among the applicants who do not need an interview to extend their visas.
How long does it take to be issued a new visa?
If you do not need to be interviewed, the extended visa will be issued as soon as possible. It usually takes ten days to receive a response from the embassy about if your visa has been approved. In some cases, processing time may increase or decrease. For example, in the following situations, the processing time and issuance of visas will change, if you:
- Have ineligibility for the visa, you want to extend
- Have a visa waiver in the past
- Plan to travel in the next ten days
In the following cases, your ineligibility may disturb your visa renewal process:
- Incomplete in supporting documents and application
- Illegal presence in the United States
- Fraud or Misrepresentation
- Public Charge
- Visa Qualifications and Immigrant Intent
What is the validity of the extended visa?
The validity of the extended visa is the same as the original visa. Different visas have different validity periods. For instance, an H1B visa is valid for three years, while a visitor visa is valid for up to six months.
How much does it cost to extend a visa?
The cost of paying for your visa is exactly the same as the amount you paid for the original visa. As you know, for most nonimmigrant visas you have to pay $ 160 as an application fee.
Is it possible to deny a visa extension application?
As mentioned above, to approve your US visa renewal, you must be able to meet the requirements of your intended visa. If you do not meet these provisions, your extension application may be rejected.
Let’s sum up…
In this article, we addressed how to extend a US visa. What requirements must be met? What is the cost of this process, and what are the possible reasons for rejecting the visa extension application? On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas requirements, including the application fee and processing time, as well as an explanation about the US visas. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.