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  4.  » Applying to extend the stay of nonimmigrant visa holders

Many employers in North Carolina rely on workers who have nonimmigrant work visas that allow them to work in the U.S. for a few years. When an employer sponsors an employee who works with a nonimmigrant visa, there are some situations in which the employer might want to extend the employee’s stay in the U.S. Employers can apply for extensions of workers’ nonimmigrant visa statuses to try to extend their stay so that they can continue working for the employers for a longer amount of time.

What visas are eligible for extensions?

Not all nonimmigrant visas are eligible for extensions. Employers cannot apply for extensions for people who were admitted to the U.S. under a visa waiver program, as a crew member, as someone who was admitted in transit through the country, someone who was admitted as a fiancé or a fiancé’s dependent, or someone who was admitted as an informant on organized crime or terrorism. The types of nonimmigrant visas that are eligible for extensions include the following:

• E-1, E-2, or E-3 visas
• H and H-1B visas
• L-1A and L-1B visas
• O-1 and O-2 visas
• P-1, P-2, and P-3 visas
• TN-1 and TN-2 visas
• R-1 visas
• Q-1 visas

How to apply for an extension

Employers who want to apply for an extension for workers with eligible nonimmigrant visas must sign and submit a Form I-129 to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services before the expiration of their workers’ I-94 forms. They must also submit the proper filing and biometric services fees together with the application. Employers should gather the documents that are needed to show that their employees remain eligible for their nonimmigrant visa statuses.

Being approved to continue sponsoring workers with nonimmigrant visas is not a simple process. Because of the length of time that it can take to get a decision, employers should start the process early. An immigration law attorney might review all of the documents and the application to ensure that it is completed and submitted correctly. The attorney may advise his or her clients if additional evidence will need to be gathered and submitted.