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How to extend or change your stay in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admits that there are problems with immigration issues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, noted Citizenship and Immigration Services website (USCIS). On April 13, new information was published on how to extend or change the status of stay in the country during a pandemic. Here is what you need to know.

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Non-immigrants are generally required to leave the United States before the period they have allowed to visit the country has expired. However, the Service recognizes that nonimmigrants may now remain in the United States beyond the due date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What to do?

Apply for renewal. Most non-immigrants can apply for an extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS). USCIS continues to accept and process applications and petitions; many of the forms are available online.

Submit this application on time. Non-immigrants, as a rule, do not receive the status of illegal presence while their timely application is pending. Where applicable, a work permit with the same employer, subject to the same conditions and conditions of prior approval, is automatically renewed for up to 240 days after the expiration of I-94. This is possible when an application for an extension of the period of stay is submitted on time.

USCIS reminds petitioners and applicants that the Service may consider delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic when deciding whether late submissions should be warranted due to emergency circumstances.

According to current regulationsif a person submits an application for an extension of the stay or a request for a change of status (in forms I-129 or I-539) after the expiration of the permitted admission period, USCIS at its discretion may justify an untimely submission, if this happened due to extraordinary circumstances, dependent on that person (e.g., caused by COVID-19). The duration of the delay should be appropriate. The applicant must provide reliable evidence in support of his request, which USCIS will evaluate in each case. These special situations have been used in the past at different times, including in cases of natural disasters and similar crises.

On the subject: What to do if you need an immigration service during the closing of USCIS offices

For more information about late renewal or status change requests, go to 1 link и 2 link. Also, check out the form pages. I-129 и I-539to learn about specific application requirements and eligibility criteria.

Special conditions for those who come under the VWP program. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) members are not eligible to extend their stay or change status. However, according to the current rules, if an emergency (for example, COVID-19) impedes the departure of a VWP participant, USCIS may at its discretion provide a departure period of up to 30 days. You can read more here. For those VWP members who have already received a deferment and cannot leave the United States during this 30-day period due to problems with COVID-19, USCIS has the authority to temporarily provide an additional 30-day period to leave the country. To request a respite, you must call USCIS Contact Center.

For the latest information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on US immigration issues, see uscis.gov/coronavirus.

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