When you apply for a visitor visa extension, it can either be approved or denied.
If you would like to leave the U.S. before you get the receipt or before your application is approved (or denied), you can simply leave the U.S. as normal. Your relative in the U.S. should keep the receipt date and the later approval/denial letter.
If you are approved, you can simply stay until the date you are granted an extension. The approval letter will have a new I-94 card that you should tear off and staple in your passport. When you leave the United States, give that I-94 card to the airline staff when you check in at the airport. You should save the approval letter, boarding passes, and copies of airline tickets with you. They will be useful when you want to visit the U.S. the next time. It will prove that you left on time and that you were not staying unlawfully.
If your visitor visa extension is denied, there are several consequences depending upon different situations.
Prior to the I-94 Date
If your visitor visa extension is denied prior to the expiration date of the CURRENT I-94 date, there are no consequences and you should leave normally before it expires.
Past the I-94 Date
As long as you filed the extension application before the expiration date of the current I-94 form, you are in legal status as long as the application is pending or for 240 days, whichever comes first.
However, if you are still in the U.S. when your extension application is denied, you immediately go out of status. You will have to leave immediately. It is understood that there are practical difficulties in leaving on the same day. It takes time to arrange the air tickets, pack the bags and so on, but legally, there is no grace period.
You may consult an immigration lawyer to see if they can negotiate with USCIS for you to depart voluntarily by a certain date that is more practical. This is so that you can make tickets and other arrangements. You can NOT appeal this rejection decision. A senator or congressman can NOT help in this case.
10 Years Multiple Entry Visa Void
If you are in the U.S. past your I-94 date, your visitor visa extension is denied, and you have a 10 year multiple entry visa, that visa is considered automatically cancelled under section 222(g) of the INA.
When the visa is cancelled, they don’t have to stamp or strike off the actual visa stamp in the passport. They just make an entry in their computer. That means, if you try to enter the U.S. with that visa stamp again, you will not be allowed.
Even though some people have reported that they were allowed entry into the U.S. after such an incident, there are others who have been denied.
This issue has been discussed numerous times in a discussion forum. However, some people are not willing to accept this issue and continue to argue/take whatever position is convenient to them. However, the fact remains that your visa is indeed void. You will have to apply all over again at the consulate when you want to visit the next time. Don’t risk bringing your elderly parents on a 25 hour flight only to be returned back right away.
30 Days Grace Period
If the response is a denial, and your I-94 has expired, the USCIS generally allows you 30 days to depart the U.S. starting from the date on the letter notifying you of their decision to deny your extension. If you do not depart within 30 days, you will be considered deportable.
Many people confuse this matter. The thirty days grace period is only before you are considered deportable (they forcefully, sometimes in an embarrassing manner, throw you out of the country) and is not actually an authorized stay. Whatever time you spend beyond the denial of the visitor visa extension is still an unauthorized stay (out of status). If it were actually an authorized stay, practically, no one would be considered “denied” and everyone would get at least another 30 days of an authorized stay extension. However, that is really not the case.
Post Denial Communication
If your extension is denied, the following documents need to be sent to the USCIS after you exit the country:
- Original denial letter
- Original boarding pass
- Copy of biographical page of passport
- Copy of entry stamp in new country
- Letter saying that the applicant overstayed because he/she was awaiting a decision on an extension application
The applicant should carry copies of all the above documents on his/her next visit to the U.S.
Subsequent Visa Application
The USCIS cautions that if you are refused permission to extend your stay, you may encounter problems with the consulate overseas the next time you apply for a U.S. visa because their computer records will indicate that you did not leave the U.S. within the time frame of your initial period of entry. Be sure to keep your rejection letter and proof of the date of your departure (a boarding pass is the best thing, but passport stamps showing entry into another country is also helpful) to give to the consulate the next time you apply for a new visa. Having those documents may mitigate your apparent overstay and could improve the chances of renewing your visa without the five year restriction (usually applied to people that have overstayed their visit).
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