How can I extend my US visa amid COVID-19 outbreak?
You are locked within the US borders with no possibility to fly out to your home country, and your visitor visa is about to run out? Learn how to extend your permitted stay in the US during the State of Emergency.
Good news for you: the USCIS allows to extend B1, B2 and other visitor visas due to the coronavirus pandemic. Submit your application within the US, and stay in the country legally until the international situation settles down. Your visa will be extended if you are not able to fly back to your country because of border closures.
How to apply for a visitor visa extension?
Your first step is to fill out the Form I-539 (Extension of a Non-Immigrant Visa). As most USCIS offices are temporarily closed because of the lockdown, it's better to submit an online application. Ideally, you should send your request at least 45 days prior to the date of the required departure written on your arrival card. But with numerous international flights canceled and entries closed at the last minute, special considerations are taken into account.
Documents needed for the Form I-539:
- Copy of your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record Card);
- Copy of passport bio-data and visa pages;
- A filing fee of $370;
- A written statement explaining your reasons to stay in the US. You can use the example below as a template:
Extension of B Visa Status
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am sending you Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status) with supporting documents for extending my non-immigrant status in the US.
Current visa valid until: [Date]
Extension requested for: [x] months
New validity date: [New Date]
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation India has closed international borders for an uncertain period. All flights to India have been canceled. As I'm currently unable to fly back to my home country, I respectfully request you to approve my extension of stay. At the conclusion of the situation and after resumption of International flights, I will promptly depart the US.
I enclose the following documents for your review:
Copy of I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, valid through [date].
Copy of passport bio-data and visa pages.
Official letter from Air India company notifying about the cancellation of my return flight.
Affidavit of Support (Form I-134), and bank statements.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at [number] or [email].
[Applicant's US Address]
Additional documents (optional):
- Bank statements as a proof of your financial independence;
- Copies of return air tickets. We recommend you to book your tickets for a few weeks after the end of a formal lockdown in your country;
- Proofs of your intention to come back to your country after the end of travel restrictions (letter from your employer confirming continued employment, real estate documents, etc.)
USCIS may also require you to come for an interview or to provide biometrics (photograph, fingerprints, signature) to verify your identity.
How long will my application be reviewed?
Once you file your request you will receive the 13-digit case as a proof of your application. With that proof, you will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for 240 days after the I-94 expiration. You can check the status of your application online.
Visafoto.com reminds you about the importance of social distancing. We recommend you to apply for any documents online and to take your passport or visa photos online as well. Learn how to take and print passport photos during the lockdown in the US, #stayhome and stay safe!