I-539 Extension of Stay Applications: Common Errors

April 14, 2009
Something as innocent as obtaining a nonimmigrant extension of stay (EOS) can be fraught with difficulty.  As immigration lawyers here in Los Angeles, Fong & Chun sees many people who have filed the the I-539 EOS application themselves, and the application has been denied or rejected because the applicants did not provide the immigration authorities with appropriate information.  Always be sure:

1.  the name on the application matches the name on the passport,
2.  copies -- do NOT send USCIS originals, unless USCIS specifically requests them in a letter to you -- of the face-page, visa page, entry stamp, and the I-94 arrival document should be included,
3.  the applicant should write a clear, succinct explanation of the need for the extension; this statement should come from, and be signed by, the applicant -- not an attorney,
4.  include enough documentation to show that the applicant has the financial resources to stay in the USA and to return to the home country,
5.  student-related applications -- like F or M visas -- must be accompanied by I-20s signed by a Designated School Official; the original I-20 should be sent with the I-539, and
6.  we recommend AGAINST using an e-check to pay for the application.
As always, Fong & Chun recommends that you (a) keep a copy of EVERYthing that you send to immigration authorities, and (b) send everything by Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested.  
Should you need assistance, please contact us. --jcf