Extension of Stay in U.S.
United States Department of State
EXTENSION OF STAY IN THE U.S.
Many individuals have difficulty understanding the difference between the validity of a visa, which is a stamp placed in a national passport or in a laisser-passer, and permission to remain in the United States. This page is designed to clarify the difference between a visa and extension of stay.
A visa is granted by the Department of State, either by the Visa Office in Washington, D.C. or at one of our Consulates or Embassies outside of the U.S.
Permission to enter and/or remain in the United States and extensions of stay in this country are granted by the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
Upon entering the United States, the INS Office at the port of entry places in your passport or laisser-passer a small white card, Form I-94. On this card the INS officer writes in either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). The date on the Form I-94 is controlling. That is, if you have "duration of status" you may remain in the U.S. as long as you are in the same job or same category of job. If you have a date on your Form-94, you should apply for your extension of stay with INS prior to its expiry.
The Department of State has no authority to extend your stay or change the information/date on the Form I-94.
A visa is used solely to make application to INS to re-enter the U.S. after being outside of this country. That is, a visa is used only to cross borders and has nothing to do with the length of your stay in the U.S.
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