How to extend your U.S. B-1 or B-2 visa during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things about modern life. If you’re currently in the U.S. on a B-1, B-2 or any other temporary visa, you may be in for a longer stay than originally anticipated due to the travel restrictions related to the pandemic.
If you need to extend your I-94 date or U.S. visitor visa stay in the United States, you must file an extension of stay with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, before your authorized stay expires.
Visas are generally issued for a period of six months, but an additional maximum extension of 6 months can be granted based on the USCIS approval. USCIS recommends that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, but due to current events, even if you have less than 45 days, you should still apply so that you follow legal processes and stay on the record.
How to File a U.S. Visitor Visa Extension
Due to the extreme situation created by COVID-19, certain U.S. temporary visas, including B-1 and B-2 (for visitors and business travelers) visa holders, are eligible to file for an extension of their temporary U.S. visas if they are unable to return to their home country due to travel restrictions. USCIS will consider all extension applications under these extenuating circumstances. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing for a visitor visa extension:
Form I-539, Application to Extend a Visitor Visa
- Fill out Form I-539, Extension of a Non-Immigrant Visa
- Include a written statement explaining your reasons for an extension.
- Provide supporting documents to prove that your extended stay is temporary
- Include copies of return air-tickets
- Provide a copy of your I-94
- Show financial independence and proof that you will not become a public charge in the U.S.
- You should not have accessed any monetary state benefits or supplementary income from the state after February 11, 2020. If you have received any state benefits, please list them separately with supporting documentation
- Documents showing that the effects of your extended stay on your foreign employment or residency
- Submit $370 for filing fees (and $85 for biometric fees depending upon your petition)
Next Steps: After Filing Your U.S. Visitor Visa Extension
- Once the extension application is submitted, USCIS will give you a receipt with a 13-digit case number.
- You can check the status of your application as well as the processing times using your case number.
- You can also call their customer service center at 1-800-375-5283 to ask about your case.
Things to Remember When Filing A Visitor Visa Extension
- If possible, file your extension application 45 days before your stay is set to expire.
- You can stay in the U.S. for 240 days after the expiry date on your I-94 if you have proof of an I-539 application.
- The 13-digit case number and receipt notice by USCIS acts as proof of an existing I-539 document in process.
- Spouse and unmarried children under 21 years can be included on one Form I-539
- In order to qualify, you can not have violated your visa status in any way and may not be a potential public charge.
While the above step-by-step process will help you file your visa extension with ease, do not hesitate to contact a legal immigration expert if you need assistance.
We also recommend having a suitable travel medical insurance policy while you are in the U.S. to cover you financially in case you have a medical emergency or need to be hospitalized due to coronavirus. If you already have a travel medical insurance policy, do not forget to renew your travel medical insurance plan. If you need assistance in finding suitable travel medical insurance plan, you can research and compare your options and pricing right here at VisitorsCoverage. Want to speak to an travel insurance expert? No problem! Our customer service team is happy to help.
Disclaimer: Information provided on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. Please consult an immigration lawyer for legal consultation.
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