Since March of this year, most non immigrants such as tourists, visitors, business people to the United States, have been unable to return to their home countries due to the lock down. Some have been able to retun by charter flights organized by their Consulates, but the majority are still stuck here in the United States.
The question most people have been asking, is what happens if their stay expires, and they are still unable to return to their home countries? We all know that when you land at any international airport in the United States, you are issued an I-94 as well given a period of stay, usually three to six months, depending on the type of visa.
Generally, the USCIS requires that you file an extension before your stay expires, if you think your reason for admission into the U.S. will extend beyond the time of stay. However, with the special circumstances the entire world is in, with the Covid 19 pandemic affecting every part of the world, does this rule still apply?
The answer is a resounding YES, as we posed this question to one of the most prominent immigration lawyers in New York City. He stated that "They should file an extension of temporary stay (Form I-539) before the expiration date of their present stay. To do this, they should go to www.uscis.gov, download the form, complete and file using the relevant instructions". The filing fee is $455.00 plus attorney's fees, if you decide to seek legal assistance, which is advisable these days.
So, if you are stranded, and you are about to overstay, hurry and file the extension as possible to avoid any repercussions, specially for those with multiple entry visas.
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