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Canadian Visitors Interested in Extending Their Stay in the United States

Some Canadian visitors may be unaware that they could be permitted to extend their stay in the United States beyond the initially authorized six-month period. We, at Berardi Immigration Law, have some important tips to keep in mind!

When a Canadian visitor applies for entry to the United States, they’re typically admitted as a B-2 visitor, and they are generally allowed to stay for up to six months following any given entry. However, it’s important to understand that a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer can restrict this if the person intends to possibly stay in the U.S. permanently or if that person does not have the means to support themselves while in the U.S.

An authorized period of stay following any given entry will most likely be limited to six months, however, CBP does have authority to allow someone to come into the United States for a longer period than one year. 

To ensure that the visitor is aware of their required date of departure from the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issues an I-94 Arrival and Departure Record. This also creates a record of arrival and departure dates (visit the I-94 Website for Travel Records for U.S. Visitors to find your length of authorized stay and access records).

It is critical to be aware that the rules for how long one may spend in the U.S. are different for immigration and tax purposes. Please understand the necessity to comply with both sets of rules, as well as health insurance eligibility requirements. 

There are a couple of methods to go about extending the period of stay in the U.S as a Canadian visitor. For example, a Canadian visitor may enter on November 1st with admittance through May 1st. That person decides to leave on March 1st, two months before the end of their stay. Later, they come back on April 1st. At that time, CBP could technically admit them for an additional six-month period, as long as they are satisfied that that individual still has plans to return to Canada.

On the other hand, the Canadian visitor may wish to stay in the United States past their required departure date without returning to Canada. It is possible to extend their stay up to another six months if that Canadian visitor still has plans to ultimately leave. We can file a paper-based application with an agency called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and request an extension of status. Please keep in mind that USCIS suggests filing an extension 45 days prior to the required departure date.

It is important to understand that not all applications for extensions are granted. Aside from the high degree of discretion that CBP officers have, extension applications are approved or denied based on several factors, including:

  1. The length of extension being requested
  2. The reason for extension
  3. The evidence provided to substantiate request

Please contact Berardi Immigration Law to speak with one or our attorneys if you are interested in learning more!