Extension of Stay in Covid-19 Times

Yes, extending your B1/B2 business or tourist visa in the US due to Covid-19 impact is a valid reason. That being said, you will still need to pay attention to the process and deadlines. Below is an overview of what you need to be mindful of if you find yourself in need of such an extension.

As always, should you find the process too cumbersome or if you still have unanswered questions pertaining to your specific case, we would be happy to represent you for this particular step, so that your chances of success will increase. Feel free to use the chat box below or our Contact Us page to send us a message with your particular details. The message is confidential and you will be contacted soon after we receive it, so that we can expeditiously go to work on your behalf!

How Long Before My Visa Is Due to Expire Should I Apply? How Long Will It Take To Get an Answer?

USCIS recommends that you apply “at least 45 days before your authorized period of stay expires.” Obviously, everybody’s situation is different, but this should be one guidance that you strive to follow, if you want to avoid the threat of deportation or the need to go back to your country of origin and apply for a new visa. Also to keep in mind is that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, not only your personal situation could be affected, but government agencies such as USCIS are definitely affected. The best way to understand what you could expect in terms of processing times is to use USCIS’ Case Processing Times Page. There, you can choose your application type and processing center from the drop down menus, and estimate your application processing time based on the information displayed there.

Am I Eligible to Extend My Visa?

The guidlines on the USCIS web site are the following:

You may apply to extend your stay if:

  • You were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa
  • Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
  • You have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa
  • You have not violated the conditions of your admission
  • Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay

You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

  • Visa Waiver Program
  • Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
  • Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa)

How Do I File?

You may file online or by paper.

File Online

Not all nonimmigrants are able to file Form I-539 online at this time. You can check your eligibility on our website. If you are eligible, you may create a USCIS online account to file online and:

  • Submit evidence and pay fees electronically;
  • Receive case status updates about your case and see complete case history;
  • Communicate with us securely and directly; and
  • Respond to requests for evidence.

If you already have a USCIS online account, simply sign into your account to get started.

File by Paper

You must:

What Do I Do After I File?

Once we receive your Form I-539, you will receive a:

  • Receipt notice confirming we received your application;
  • Biometric services notice, if applicable;
  • Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and
  • Notice of our decision.

Extend Non-Immigrant Status – Form I-539

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Venezuela Gets Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months

“The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens.”
“It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas
Photo Credit: “Venezuela refugee women volunteering at Comedor Fundación Nueva Vida Cúcuta” by Cristal Montanez Venezuela is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas is designating Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, until September 2022.

Accoding to dhs.gov web site, “this new designation of TPS for Venezuela enables Venezuelan nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Venezuela) currently residing in the United States to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.”

Only individuals who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States as of March 8, 2021 are eligible for TPS under Venezuela’s designation.

Eligible individuals will need to apply within 180 days for TPS (Temporary Protected Status) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Full details HERE

Warning! Do Not Fall for Immigration “Help” Schemes. The Work Is Just Beginning!

As we have been informing you, since Day One of his swearing in, President Biden proposed a new immigration law and signed the first Executive Orders aimed at improving the life of our immigrant population, and streamlining a new, secure path to integrating those currently out of legal status into our society the right way, the legal and humane way.

Relief is expected to come to many individuals in the United States without permission. While this is great news, it is important to understand that nothing is about to happen over night, and in all likeliness, when it will be fully implemented, it will still apply only to people meeting certain criteria.

Beware!

Keep in mind that an Executive order can only go so far. Only Congress can change the law. So, in the coming weeks and months, despite what you might start hearing on some media channels or online, please remember that the President cannot change the law, although he can surely set the tone and establish the direction of the new policies.

Beware of people or firms that ask for any advance payments to “pre-register” you for any immigration relief service they may provide or help facilitate for you “in the future” based on the anticipated reforms. These are unscrupulous and illegal entities!

Stay Alert!

  • Learn to discern between rumors and news. Trust only mainstream news organizations, and inform yourself from what is clearly presented as news, and not commentary or “analysis” that mentions no facts or specific legislation.that report the news, not speculation.
  • Be prepared with your own paperwork. Keep track and safeguard documents that demonstrate your presence in the United States, such as bills, receipts or accounts of any kind with your name and with dates on them. Any immigration reform that might happen is likely to require from an applicant to prove that they were present in the US for a certain period of time before a specific date it is likely that you will have to prove that you have been living in the United States before a certain date.
  • Respect the law! Regardless of your legal immigration status, you still live in a community that abides by local, state and federal laws. It is in your best interest to observe and respect those laws, so that you will have as little trouble as possible to adjust your status when the time comes. Past mistakes might end up preventing you from being approved, despite the potential offered by new immigration legislation. The best way to avoid their consequences is to not make them in the first place! Also keep in mind that until a new law with new requirements is in place, the existing law is still valid, and people can still end up deported.
  • Be very mindful of individuals who might work for legally established law firms or government agencies, but will take it upon themselves for their own gain to “help” you solve your case and “guarantee” results! This is not only morally wrong, it is also illegal!

As positive as the news from the new White House has started to look, it is important to understand that the work has just begun on overhauling an entire immigration system. Your best course of action is to stay informed from the right sources and when the time for action comes, rely only on a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer to help you see the process through successfully!

Our firm has been representing clients successfully for over three decades. Leslie Snyder, P.A. is a highly respected attorney with experience in various aspects of the immigration law, an ally you will be only happy to have on your side to win the battle, no matter how hard and tedious it might get.

Dramatic Reversal on DACA

A federal judge has reversed the Trump administration’s restrictive rule on the DACA program. This Obama administration legislation protected undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.

“#DACA for #Dreamers Unidos soñamos #dreamact #cir #immigrationreform #cirnow #immigration” by Steve Rhodes is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to N.P.R., yesterday “Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn instructed the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as soon as Monday”

Court documents state that DHS has until Monday to post a public notice “displayed prominently on its website and on the websites of all other relevant agencies, that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA.”

Approximately 640,000 undocumented young immigrants are protected under DACA. As of this July, due to restrictions imposed by the Trump administration on this Obama-era program, about 300,000 young people from other countries living in the U.S. were ready to apply This new decision effectively green lights the process for them.

Read more about this at NPR’s web site.

It’s Official: New York State Will Aid Undocumented Students

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has confirmed he will sign into law a new measure passed by the New York State Senate. The bill offers undocumented students access to state financial aid and scholarships for higher education.

New York Democrats became a majority in the State Senate in November after a decade of being a minority. Immigration protections are now on the front of their agenda. The new bill constitutes a pro-immigrant countermeasure to President Trump’s federal immigration policies that have been seeking to undo the protections of The Dream Act, put into place by the Obama administration over ten years ago.

The provisions of the new law will include allowing undocumented residents to obtain state driver’s licenses and reducing maximum jail sentences for certain misdemeanors that could otherwise lead to deportation.

” The New York bill will affect an estimated 146,000 young people who were educated in New York public schools but have been ineligible to receive financial aid under federal and state law, according to analysis by the New York State Youth Leadership Council and N.Y.U. Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic. ” – notes the New York Times in an article yesterday.

Read the entire article HERE.

The Immigration Offices of Leslie I. Snyder, P.A. strive to keep our clients informed with the latest developments affecting US Immigration policies. We provide assistance on immigration issues ranging from family integration, immigrant and non-immigrant visas, business, employment, adjustment of status, citizenship.

As always, contacting our firm to help you navigate through the uncertainty of your particular situation is also a safe bet. Our experience and expertise is sure to be one of your best allies.