Coronavirus, a deadly virus that spread across the world and has claimed 38, 000 lives and infected 790, 000 people. Originated in Wuhan, China in December of 2019, it took less than six weeks for it cover the entire globe and was a declared a pandemic by WHO.
Today, three months into its spread, Covid-19 as it is officially called has brought global economies, world travel and day-to-day routine to a complete standstill. Several visitors traveling for a temporary period are stranded out of their home countries due to the travel restrictions and border closures put in place by various governments. Many temporary visitors to the US entering with a B2 visitor visa are unable to return to their home countries because borders are shut down and airlines have suspended most travel.
When Are You Eligible to Apply for Visitor Visa Extension?
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Step-by-Step Guide on How to File A US Visitor Visa Extension
Due to the extreme situation created by Covid-19, certain US B2 visitor visa holders are eligible to file for an extension of their B2 visa if they are unable to depart back to their home country due to travel restrictions. USCIS will consider all extension applications under these extenuating circumstances. Here is a step-by-step guide to file for visitor visa extension:
- 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. Know everything about the new For I-94 if you are on a B2 visitor visa.
- Show financial independence and proof that you will not become a public charge in the US.
- You should not have accessed any monetary state benefits or supplementary income form 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 filing fees of $370 (and $85 biometric fees depending upon your petition)
Next Steps: After Filing Your US 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.
Have you filed for an extension?
Check your Visitor Visa Extension Status Here
Things to Remember When Filing A Visitor Visa Extension
- As far as possible, file your extension application 45 days before your stay mentioned in the I-94 expires.
- You can stay in the US 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 should not have violated your visa status in any way and 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.