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Jiminy Cricket

Extending a B-2 Tourist Visa Without An I-94 Card

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Hi all!

Can a Canadian citizen in the US on a B-2 tourist visa request an extension via an I-539 form without an I-94 card? As you know, most Canadians don't receive an I-94 card when entering the US. I have heard conflicting answers on this and want to make sure I have it right. Also, what is the latest time that one can file for an extension without being in violation of status?

Thank you!

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Hi all!

Can a Canadian citizen in the US on a B-2 tourist visa request an extension via an I-539 form without an I-94 card? As you know, most Canadians don't receive an I-94 card when entering the US. I have heard conflicting answers on this and want to make sure I have it right. Also, what is the latest time that one can file for an extension without being in violation of status?

Thank you!

MOST Canadians don't have a B2 visa either. So if that Canadian citizen has a B2 and entered the U.S. with that visa, he or she should have an I-94 as well.


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MOST Canadians don't have a B2 visa either. So if that Canadian citizen has a B2 and entered the U.S. with that visa, he or she should have an I-94 as well.

To my knowledge, Canadians that enter the US as tourists are considered B-2 tourists and are extended a six month stay unless otherwise notified. Whether or not this person was actually handed a B-2 tourist visa, isn't the issue here. The issue is whether or not a Canadian tourist in the US without an I-94 card can file for an extension using the I-539 form.

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For Canadian there are 2 options

1. Enter on VWP – which is 6 months for them over to 3 months for other countries. If one enters on VWP then there won’t be a I-94 and cannot extend the stay beyond 6 months.

2. In this case person would have actual B1/2 stamped on the passport and when he enter he notifies the CBP officer his reason and intent of the visit and would fill an I-94. In this case there would be a I-94 with visa type written on it and the duration of the stay permitted.

In the later case person can apply for extension.

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For Canadian there are 2 options

1. Enter on VWP – which is 6 months for them over to 3 months for other countries. If one enters on VWP then there won’t be a I-94 and cannot extend the stay beyond 6 months.

2. In this case person would have actual B1/2 stamped on the passport and when he enter he notifies the CBP officer his reason and intent of the visit and would fill an I-94. In this case there would be a I-94 with visa type written on it and the duration of the stay permitted.

In the later case person can apply for extension.

The Visa Waiver Program is for foreign nationals who want to stay in the US for no more than 90 days without a visa, currently Canada does NOT participate in this program. Canadian tourists that enter the US are extended a six month stay unless OTHERWISE noted on their passports, Canadian tourists who are allowed the six month stay do not have anything stamped on their passports and there is no I-94 card given.

The fact that no I-94 card is given to Canadian tourists is where the question comes in. I have been told that a Canadian tourist can file an I-539 extension without an I-94 card because the USCIS will know that she is Canadian and the I-94 card does not apply. I have also been told that no one can file for an I-539 extension without an I-94 card. Even my immigration attorney isn't sure about this yet.

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The Visa Waiver Program is for foreign nationals who want to stay in the US for no more than 90 days without a visa, currently Canada does NOT participate in this program. Canadian tourists that enter the US are extended a six month stay unless OTHERWISE noted on their passports, Canadian tourists who are allowed the six month stay do not have anything stamped on their passports and there is no I-94 card given.

The fact that no I-94 card is given to Canadian tourists is where the question comes in. I have been told that a Canadian tourist can file an I-539 extension without an I-94 card because the USCIS will know that she is Canadian and the I-94 card does not apply. I have also been told that no one can file for an I-539 extension without an I-94 card. Even my immigration attorney isn't sure about this yet.

Thats exactly what I told in my post only thing is I called it VWP as this is without actual visa, Canadians can also have B1/2 stamped on their passport and hence I seprated it as entry with Visa.

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1. Enter on VWP which is 6 months for them over to 3 months for other countries. If one enters on VWP then there wont be a I-94 and cannot extend the stay beyond 6 months.

Harsh, thank you for your replies. Can you refer me to anything in writing from an official website that states this? I cannot find anything anywhere that covers this.

Edited by Jiminy Cricket

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Harsh, thank you for your replies. Can you refer me to anything in writing from an official website that states this? I cannot find anything anywhere that covers this.

Dude there are lot of things in regards to immigration you would never find in writing.

If you just go by websites then you can check out the consulate website which says Canadian does not need visa to travel and study in US is it ocmpletely true, I dont think so.

I dont think any candian can just enroll in a school in US and stay indefinately... as far as I am aware even canadians need i-20 and F1 visa.

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Dude there are lot of things in regards to immigration you would never find in writing.

If you just go by websites then you can check out the consulate website which says Canadian does not need visa to travel and study in US is it ocmpletely true, I dont think so.

I dont think any candian can just enroll in a school in US and stay indefinately... as far as I am aware even canadians need i-20 and F1 visa.

I understand that there is a lot that is unwritten when it comes to immigration, but there has to be a definitive answer to this question somewhere. What I don't understand, is that if any visitor to the US from any country can apply for an extension using the I-539 form, then why wouldn't a Canadian tourist be allowed that same privelige whether or not they have an I-94 card? Why would a Canadian tourist be penalized simply because they don't get an I-94 card when crossing the border?

Edited by Jiminy Cricket

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I understand that there is a lot that is unwritten when it comes to immigration, but there has to be a definitive answer to this question somewhere. What I don't understand, is that if any visitor to the US from any country can apply for an extension using the I-539 form, then why wouldn't a Canadian tourist be allowed that same privelige whether or not they have an I-94 card? Why would a Canadian tourist be penalized simply because they don't get an I-94 card when crossing the border?

I am not saying they are penalized, when someone comes from country where they had to apply for Tourist visa does not have the privilage to shop up at our doorstep.

For ppl from these other countries need visa to even show up at the door step.

Its same for ppl who enter with VWP status (I know CA is not VWP country) cannot extend their stay.

I would assume same would be applicable to CAs too, but CO can try and apply, you never know until you apply :)

Wht I meant was if a CA entered US on B1/2 he would have i-94 and he would go in the same bucket as other tourist and would qualify to ask for extension.

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I am not saying they are penalized, when someone comes from country where they had to apply for Tourist visa does not have the privilage to shop up at our doorstep.

For ppl from these other countries need visa to even show up at the door step.

Its same for ppl who enter with VWP status (I know CA is not VWP country) cannot extend their stay.

I would assume same would be applicable to CAs too, but CO can try and apply, you never know until you apply :)

Wht I meant was if a CA entered US on B1/2 he would have i-94 and he would go in the same bucket as other tourist and would qualify to ask for extension.

I think there's too much gray area either way regarding this matter. Canadian tourists are considered B2 status by USCIS but are not issued visas or I-94 cards. There is no reason that a Canadian visitor would not be extended the same privelige as any other B2 visitor. The only reason a Canadian or Mexican tourist does not need a visa is because they are border countries.

The only problem I can see with just applying for the I-539 extension without an I-94 card is if the visitor status ran out while waiting for the approval/denial of the I-539. Would the applicant then be considered to have stayed here illegaly if they were not permitted to apply for that extension in the first place, or would the applicant be granted the grace period and then allowed to leave the country without any violation of status?

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Mexicans do not need Visa's?

Whilst many do not have them I do not think that is quite right.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Jiminy, You might ask this question in the Canada forum down near the bottom of the page in "regional Forums." You seem to understand the terms of the special Canadian Visitor Agreement, but I think there might be some finer points the Canadians who are extremely familiar with it would be able to answer (for instance I have heard some say Canadian Visitors are actually "Duration of Status" as a tourist but I have not seen any documentation myself to back that up). Good luck.


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Jiminy, You might ask this question in the Canada forum down near the bottom of the page in "regional Forums." You seem to understand the terms of the special Canadian Visitor Agreement, but I think there might be some finer points the Canadians who are extremely familiar with it would be able to answer (for instance I have heard some say Canadian Visitors are actually "Duration of Status" as a tourist but I have not seen any documentation myself to back that up). Good luck.

Harpa, thank you for your help. I have posted this in the Canadian section.

Boiler, you are correct, I was wrong in including Mexicans in that group.

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I found the following information on a Canadian gov't website, based on what's said here it does appear that a Canadian citizen in the US as a tourist, can apply for an extension of stay without ever receiving a visa or an I-94 card. Does anyone agree or disagree with that? Any input would be appreciated.

Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States directly from Canada for the purposes of visiting or studying. However, as of 23 January 2007, all Canadians entering the U.S. require passports. For further information on passport requirements, please consult the relevant page on this site.

There are some exceptions to this rule -- for example, intending immigrants, fiances or investors must qualify for a visa before entry in the same manner as other nationalities. Other entrants, such as journalists, temporary workers or NAFTA professionals must present all necessary supporting documentation and/or approved petitions directly to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer at the Port of Entry. For information on Visas or Doing Business in the United States, please see the relevant sections of this website.

Please be sure to check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site for the latest updates on U.S. entry requirements for Canadians and others.

Canadian visitors are generally granted a stay in the U.S. for up to six months at the time of entry. Requests to extend or adjust a stay must be made prior to expiry to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. All Canadians are reminded that U.S. law requires all foreigners to qualify for the desired stay and purpose at the time of their intial entry. A visitor who intends to live, work or study in the U.S. without disclosing this information beforehand may be permanently barred from the U.S.

Source: http://canada.usembassy.gov/visas/information-for-canadians.html

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