Apply for B1 extension or B2 extension
Tourist B1/B2 visa holders currently in the US who cannot depart the country before their I-94 status expires can apply for B1 extension or B2 Extension or Change of Status.
Immigration laws remain in force and one should not assume immigration enforcement will be lenient because of the situation we are facing with COVID-19 but rather seek specialized immigration help from US licensed attorneys to apply for B1 extension or B2 extension.
Because of various reasons, B1/B2 visa holders who may be forced to spend more time in the US then initially predicted must extend their B1 or B2 status prior to its expiration, or otherwise they will be considered out of status. The foreign nationals who do not require a B1/B2 visa and travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program with permission through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) must also seek an ESTA extension of stay if they will be in the US for more than 90 days. .
B1 extension or B2 extension and ESTA extension
The B1 or B2 visa holders are allowed to stay in the US for business or tourism purposes until the date specified on the Form I-94 but can extend their stay for a variety of reasons, including COVID-19 and apply for B1 extension or B2 extension. To check the most recent I-94 records please visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search.
If you are already in the US and you are forced or wish to stay beyond the time indicated on the Form I-94 without departing from the United States you must request a B1/B2 Extension of Status with USCIS prior to the expiration of your current status. Generally, it takes 4 to 6 months for USCIS to send a notice of decision on your B1/B2 extension.
For example, if you have a 10-year B1/B2 visa in your passport that expires in 2025 and you have entered and been admitted in the US on a B1 status or B2 status that expires August 15, 2020, then you must apply for a B1 extension or a B2 extension, depending on your status, in order to be able to stay in the US beyond the expiration date listed on your I-94 record, which in this example is August 15, 2020.
To obtain your B2 extension or B1 extension, you must submit an Extension of Status application with USCIS, and USCIS must receive your B1 extension or B2 extension application prior to the I-94 expiration date.
The application for Extension of Status must contain a number of supporting documents to explain your reason for extending your stay longer than initially planned and the means to support yourself during your extended stay in the US.
Alternatively, if you are changing your status from B1 or B2 status to another status, you can file the same application and request a Change of Status to other visa categories including the F-1 visa. You must submit the Change of Status application and USCIS must receive it before the expiration of your current status listed in the I-94 record.
Foreign nationals travelling to the US for business or tourism under the Visa Waiver Program and entered the US with ESTA can stay up to 90 days without a visa and are not allowed to apply for an extension or change of status.
As a result, in an emergency situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign nationals must try to obtain a satisfactory departure, which if granted, is valid for maximum 30 days.
A satisfactory departure can be obtained from USCIS or CBP (Customs Border Protection). A satisfactory departure can also be obtained from the Deferred Inspection office (CBP) at any international airport. Procedures vary by location. Some CBP offices have specific forms or formats. Some will entertain applications only within specific time periods before the authorized stay expires.
Overstay and B1 extension or B2 extension
If you are currently in the United States on a B1/B2 visa, F visa, M visa, J visa, P visa, E visa, L visa, O visa, H visa or other nonimmigrant visa and you have overstayed your status without filing an application for Extension or Change of Status prior to the date specified on Form I-94, then you can make a late filing for Extension or Change of Status with USCIS based on extraordinary circumstances.
USCIS in its sole discretion, may excuse late applications filed after the authorized period of admission expires on Form I-94 if it was due to extraordinary circumstances, such as those that may be caused by COVID-19. The USCIS evaluates the late filing for Extension or Change of Status on a case-by-case basis based on the evidence submitted.
Malescu Law can assist with B1 extension or B2 extension
Our business and immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA can provide guidance on your B1 extension or B2 extension, status alternatives, file the case and represent you before the USCIS through the entire process.
Time is of the essence in B1 or B2 extension cases. Contact us to schedule an appointment!
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers