Business and tourism visas are two of the most common ways people visit the United States temporarily. However, some people understandably want to extend their visits to Louisiana. The good news is that U.S. immigration law gives some people the option to stay in the country for longer than their original visas allow.
A foreign visitor cannot use a B-1 or B-2 visa with the intention of staying longer than allowed. In fact, immigration officials will even deny the visa application or refuse to let the person enter the country if they suspect that is his or her intention. These visas are not intended for people to ultimately immigrate to the United States.
One exception is for short-term problems. For example, a person can apply for an extension if he or she experiences a medical emergency, cannot fly, encounters family problems or needs additional time to deal with an unforeseen issue. Since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that people apply for extensions 45 days or so before their stays expire, it is important to ask for an extension as soon as one of these problems arise.
Visitors with tourist visas can also extend their stays by switching over to student classifications. This is only possible when a visitor has an actual opportunity to participate in full-time vocational or academic studies. He or she should still apply for an extension while also applying for an exchange visitor or student visa. Securing a new visa takes time, so getting that extension is the best way to remain in the country legally while waiting.
There are other options for extending a visit to Louisiana, although they can be tricky to navigate legally. Visitors have to proceed carefully to avoid being accused of immigration fraud. Because of this, it might be helpful to speak with an attorney who has a lot of experience in U.S. immigration law. This person can usually provide helpful guidance for people applying for extensions.