How will the Covid-19 impact my Visa? Will the Corona (Covid -19) Virus impact my visa? Immigration issues Associated with the Corona Virus.

By March 21, 2020March 31st, 2020Covid 19, Immigration, News, Questions & Answers
Image courtesy of WikiCommons, labeled for reuse, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Southern_Arkansas_University_Biology_student_with_microscope.jpg

Covid-19 has changed the rules for travel, engagement and employment.  We hope all are staying safe and coping with this crisis.  Over the last several days, we have had a flurry of questions from both current and prospective clients regarding the impact of the Covid – 19 (Corona virus) on visas.  We have summarized the top questions with responses.

  1. I am in the U.S. and my Visa is about to expire, what can I do?

You should remember that a visa is an entry document only and is used to enter the U.S.   When you enter, you enter in a particular status for a period of time. For example, if you entered the U.S. on an E-2 visa on January 2, 2020, (with a Visa expiration date of March, 1, 2020) you would have been admitted in E-2 status until Jan 1, 2022.  As such, in this case you could stay in the U.S. until January 1, 2022 and you could work until that time.  If you left the U.S. after March 1, 2020, you would need a visa to reenter.  As described in point 5, Consulates are not currently issuing visas.

  1. If my I-94 is about to expire, what can I do?

The date on your I-94 is what governs whether you are in valid status in the U.S.  If it is about to expire, you must either leave the U.S. and reenter, or extend the I-94 while in the U.S.  As borders are closing, leaving the U.S. will likely not be an option. As such, you could file a petition in the U.S. to extend your status.  Provided the petition is filed before your I-94 expires, you can stay in the U.S. during that time. In some cases, you can also continue to work for a period of up to 240 days while the petition is being adjudicated.  For example, let us say that a national from Italy entered the U.S. in B-1 status on October 1, 2019 to explore E-2 visa possibilities and was granted B-1 status up until April 1, 2020.    During the Corona virus pandemic, going home would not be a a viable option so the person could file a petition to extend his/her status by another 6 months.  If the applicant later left the U.S. (for example, they left in August) before the petition was adjudicated, this is fine and the petition would still be adjudicated in his/her absence.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, please download your I-94 form on every new entry to the U.S. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov. There is an extremely high rate of error on these admissions and the I-94 governs your lawful stay in the U.S. (not your passport, not your visa, not your prior petition approval).

  1. Can I file an immigrant or non-immigrant petition with USCIS?

Yes.  USCIS is still accepting all petitions including, H-1B, E-2, L-1, TN, Marriage based, Citizenship, etc.

  1. Is premium processing available for petitions?

Unfortunately, the government has temporarily suspended premium processing (adjudication in 15 calendar days) for all petitions.

  1. Do my petitions need original signatures?

The rules have been changed though so that original signatures are not needed on petitions.  This will help to facilitate easier completion and mailing of petitions.

  1. I have an appointment scheduled with USCIS, should I go? I have an interview scheduled with USCIS, should I go? Are USCIS field offices open?

Unfortunately, USCIS is not conducting in person appointments/interviews or oath ceremonies and has closed field offices until further notice.   If your appointment is long dated, you should continue to check for updates.

  1. Can I still apply for a Visa? I have a visa appointment at a Consulate, what should I do?  Are Immigration courts open?

Consulates across the globe have suspended routine visa services, and this includes processing visas such as E-1, E-2, B-1, B-2, O-1, TN, etc.  It is still possible to apply for these visas and submit the paperwork, but Consulates are not conducting appointments or issuing visas.  It is unclear when visa services will resume.

Many upcoming visa appointments have been cancelled.  If you have an appointment scheduled, do not cancel it and check back closer to the date. If the interview is cancelled, try to re-book for the next available date.

Some immigration courts remain open for now, but many have closed. It is expected that more will close as the days pass.

  1. I entered on ESTA and my time is running out. What should I do?

Normally when someone enters on the visa waiver program (ESTA), they cannot extend the period of time in the U.S.  Thankfully, extensions are being granted. You can find out more about ESTA extensions during Covid – 19 by clicking here.

  1. Are borders closing because of Covid – 19?

Yes.  Many countries and regions have closed borders including, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, EU, and more.  The Borders between Canada, U.S. and Mexico have been closed and the U.S. has issued a level 4 advisory for all citizens warning against any travel. It is very likely that the U.S. border will completely close soon.  The U.S. has also imposed bans on entry from various countries including China and the E.U. zone.

  1. What if I lose my job during the Corona virus crisis?

During this economic crisis, it is probable that many will lose jobs.  Many visas allow for a grace period if employment stops and you have a valid I-94.   There is also an option to file for a change to a different status (eg. B-2).  This is a complicated area and you should contact an immigration professional if you are in this situation.   You can find out more about grace periods by clicking here.

You can find out more about Scott Legal’s operations during the Corona virus crisis by clicking here.

We have provided a number of links with key immigration information related to the Corona Virus.

You can set up a consultation by clicking the link below.

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To find out more about our services and fees contact Scott Legal, P.C


This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising.  Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed.  Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results.  Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

91 Comments

  • Deb G says:

    Hi, I am on a O1 Visa, which is about to expire in August. I already filed an extension this year in May providing my recent network deal contract and a letter that states the production needs me to stay here for promotion once the show airs this year. Due to COVID-19 everything has been pushed including airing date as post production slowed down. I already have another movie lined up with a contract, shooting date is tentative for end of August. My question is do I have to leave the US in case I don’t get a response before it expires? Or should I reapply for a complete new O1 as well? I read that if you overstay a certain amount of days you can be penalized with no re-entry. I also called USCIS many times to check and they never pick up the phone. Thank you for any information.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

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      Kind regards,

  • marco pezzica says:

    I m Italian living in Colorado and my family and i have an E2 visa and would like to go vacation in Aruba.
    I ll have problems to come back in Colorado? I didn’t see my E2 in Trump proclamation

    • IanScott says:

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      Kind regards,

  • Rahul says:

    Hi I am Nepali 25 , My parents are Green card holder. They applied my petition f2b category feb 2019. When can I expect my green card?

    • IanScott says:

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      Kind regards,

  • Clement Addo says:

    Good day,
    Please I have a valid DV immigrant visa set to expire in June 30th due to closure of borders in my country Ghana. Please I want to know if there would be an extension.
    Thank you

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

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      Kind regards,

  • Nghi Pham says:

    My wife had an interview for N-400 on 09 April 2020, but it got cancelled due to COVID-19 and USCIS send her a letter state that they will reschedule her interview on another day. She is holding Conditional Green Card (2 years) but it will expire in 3 months from now. Should she apply for I-751 or just wait for the next interview schedule? We are currently station in Japan (I’m in military) but travel ban from SECDEF is until 30 June so we are really stuck at this situation.

    • IanScott says:

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  • Mo says:

    My I-94 allowed time will expires soon in June;
    I understand that I can file an extension by filling form I-539. However, I dont understant why should i pay all the fees if all this is due to an extraordinary catastrophe which is COVID-19 here. I am a student, and my mom is in the us visiting me. I dont have any resources now to pay for her fees? I checked the fees waver but it does not apply for a B1 visitor? Help please?

  • Anne says:

    Thanks a lot for information

    My husband went to renew his L1b visa and embassy is closed now. I couldn’t renew my L2b status because of this and could not leave the country. What should I do? Could I apply for status extension once his visa is renewed? I only have one week of valid I-94

    Thanks in advance for answer.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

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      Kind regards,

  • Ruairi Bradley says:

    I received a letter 5/2/2020 to say my b2 was approved but was only valid from 4/29/2020 until 4/30/2020. As stated above I only received this letter in the mail on 5/2/2020. Does this mean I have over stayed my time I cannot get a flight to my home country Ireland until 5/11/2020 what are my options. Can I file an extension even if my visa states it has expired. I had been checking my status regularly online after my biometrics and it never gave me a date to which the visa would expire until 5/2/2020. What should I do ?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

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      Kind regards,

  • Ella says:

    I have 2 weeks for my I94 to expire and have a B2 visa, I cannot go back to my country as they closed the borders indefinitely. I also filed an extension a little bit over a month ago and have not received any response yet except for “your application was received”. What else can I do? Am now getting worried. What if I exit to a country like Mexico (where I can get a Visa on a arrival) and come back to America, will they let me in.

    • IanScott says:

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      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Hasti says:

    I am on H1B and need to return back to my original Country ( Australia ) for couple of weeks. Can I return to US without any problem due to COvid-19 Restrictions?

    • IanScott says:

      You will have to check the restrictions between Australia and the US which could change daily. I don’t think there is currently a restriction to reenter the U.S.

  • A chowdhury says:

    Hi my brother family got immigrants visa and they ready to flight but COVID 19 no flight , and visa is about to expire what you suggest to do

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

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      Kind regards,

  • Abdyul says:

    I am on B2 visa and going to be expire May 15th’ 2020. Emirates will start flight operations month of July,2020. What should I have to do about my extension.

    • IanScott says:

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      Kind regards,

  • K says:

    I appreciate all the information provided.
    When I entered the U.S. on a tourist visa, the officer at the airport didn’t stamp my passport. I looked for my I-94 online and there isn’t any information about my current admission to the country. I assumed I had the same date as my father who was with me. Due to the Covid-19, we have to extend our stay which would expore May 5th. However, I cannot file because I don’t have an I-94. I tried calling and emailing to get it fixed but they want me to go in person and the nearest office is too far for me. Also, I am afraid they will deport me then. I have my flight ticket which I changed one because of the virus time and have to change again. Will I get in trouble next time I visit the U.S. if I don’t ask for an extension now and just wait until I am allowed to fly back home?

    • IanScott says:

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      Kind regards,

  • Amobi chinenye says:

    An a nigeria citizen and I have a pamanent regedent visa to canada and it will expire by August what should I do

    • IanScott says:

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  • Sanjay says:

    Hi,
    If i am on H1B Visa with Max-out date 8/1/2020 and I94 expiry date as 8/1/2020, What could be the option in case I am not able to travel back to my country due to COVID-19.

    • IanScott says:

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  • Chloe says:

    Hi ,

    I have a k-1 visa and runs out on 6th may? Can I travel to the USA to be with my American fiancé in the states ?

    No answers anywhere online about having a valid K-1 visa and being able to travel, I need help ASAP please.

    • IanScott says:

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  • My father is in Mexico and has a permanent resident card. He will be in Mexico for over 6 months. His flight was cancel and can’t return back. Would he be able to re-enter back after the COVID pandemic? Thank you

    • IanScott says:

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  • Lina says:

    Hi, I am on.a B-2 VISA on NYC, US. My country has its boarder close and i am going to exceed the 6 months period they give you to return to my country, i can not leave as my country is close. What should i do?

    • IanScott says:

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  • Ezequiel Segismundo says:

    Hi, I’ve been in the Philippines since June 1, 2018. I was granted with re-entry visa which will expire on July 01, 2020. With the re-entry permit, I am allowed to stay outside USA for 2 yrs. For the best of your knowledge, which will govern on my admission to US immigartion (June 1 or july 1)? Moreover, I intend to travel back to USA by first week of May, however, due to imposed enhanced community quarantine by the philippine government, it is likely that i wont be able to make it by the planned date nor by June 1 nor worst by July 1. What can i do?

    • IanScott says:

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  • Suzie says:

    Thanks for the post, great info during this stressful time.
    We have an application for L-1 visa extension, we filed March 31st 2020, will this still be processed? ie have L-1 applications been effected at all.
    Thanks

    • IanScott says:

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  • A says:

    Hello,

    Do you know if it is possible to re-enter the US on an L1 Visa (husband on L2) under the travel ban?. We are Irish citizens who have a resident address in US

    Thanks

    • IanScott says:

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  • Ruth says:

    Hi,

    I am currently working full-time, but my F-1 visa will expire on June 11th 2020. Due to the current travel restrictions & updates from some airline sources, it looks like international travel won’t resume completely until October. If that happens, is there a way I can apply for my EAD/F-1 extension now?

    • IanScott says:

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  • Karl Javier says:

    Hi, I have an F2B US VISA issued from the Philippines prior to having COVID19 related restrictions. I’m at risk of being unable to travel to the US before my US VISA travel date due to flight availability and COVID19 lockdown restrictions. Are there any information related to my case? Thanks in advance.

    • IanScott says:

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  • Ibrahim ssekitoleko says:

    Hello there …
    I had just got an immigrarion visa in march and it expires in 6 months yet i havent travelled due to border closure what wud happen if it expires ….what should i do please thanks

    • IanScott says:

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  • Greg says:

    My spouse’s immigrant visa expires July 6 I am concerned travel bans will not be lifted will her entry date be extended to Enter the USA ?

    • IanScott says:

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  • Vicky Sabo says:

    I am in the US on a B2 visa which expired on April 4th. I mailed in a extension request prior to the experation date but have not heard back. What do I do, am I now illegal?.

    • IanScott says:

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  • Roy says:

    Hi, I am in advance parole based on an approved EB1A I140. I had to visit India for an emergency and have now been unable to return to the USA due to a lockdown in India. My advance parole expires on 18th July 2020. However I received an extension on my advance parole which is currently sitting in the mailbox of my US residence. In the event I am unable to return before my current advance parole expires will I risk abandoning my I485? Or would I be allowed to enter due to the global pandemic?

    Thanks

    • IanScott says:

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  • Alex says:

    I entered the US from Canada by land border before the borders were shut down. A government service I want to access requires I have an original paper I-94. I’m not issued that because Canada is a treaty country, and with all the shutdowns, I’d be unable to obtain one in person.

    During the pandemic, what’s the best way to obtain a paper I-94 online? Is it a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request?

    Thanks

    • IanScott says:

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  • Reebs says:

    I have the visa but it will be expiring soon. Because of COVID could not travel
    can you tell the process how can i apply for extension?

    • IanScott says:

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  • Pravin Kumar says:

    Hi I am completing my 5 years terms on L1B at the end of May. I was planning to go back to my home country during May 20 but now my home country stopped all international flights and not sure when these are going to reopen again. I have I-94 valid till April 2021.

    What are my options now?

    • IanScott says:

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  • Shankar K says:

    My H1B amendment was approved till 10-March, with I94 validity of 20-Mar. I got to know the status only last week 8th Apr. I cannot travel because of travel ban in my home country. Can I file H1B extension now? Or should I need to wait and travel?

    • IanScott says:

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      Kind regards,

  • Ahmed Ali says:

    I hold a Green Card. Currently, I live in Kenya since I left US in January. Due to COVID-19, kenya goverment Kenya
    people to go abroad. I am afraid that I will live outside US over 6 months. What can I

    • IanScott says:

      Given the exceptional circumstance this likely will not be an issue.

    • Len Sarile says:

      I have valid FX1 IV category, about to leave the county.
      This visa expires on June. Can I still enter US or no? If not and my visa expires, what happens?

      Thank you.

      • IanScott says:

        Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

        https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • Awais Khan says:

    When will the flights will reopen due to COVID-19?

  • Adejoke says:

    I am on B2 visa to U.S. from Nigeria,both borders are closed presently and my 6month will lapse or expired by may.what can I do?

  • Francis Otoo says:

    I had my immigrant visa in February here in Ghana which is to last 6months. I booked my flight which was supposed to take off 21st March till various lockdown started here in Africa. If my visa is to expire before operation starts fully, will there be an extension?

  • Nguyen says:

    I am from Vietnam. I just got approved Green card, three moths back. I need to enter US within 6 months to activate my green card status. However, due to the virus, my family and I are unable to enter us before the green card exprired date (middle of May, 2020). What should I do?

  • Ram says:

    Hi,
    One of my friend H1B Max Out date is In 20 May 2020 and his I-94 is going expore on 20 April 2020 and his PERM applied 11 months back to his Max Outday. Can he stay in US after his i-94 expires ? Can get 1 month extension till his Max Out date. What are the options he has during this COVID 19 situation.
    Please guide.

    Thanks
    Ram

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Roger says:

    Hi, first of all thanks for all the information you share in here, this is such a great blog!

    I hope you can help me with a question.
    I am Mexican and I have a TN valid for the next 6 months.
    Due to COVID 19, my job is at risk(as many) however, I already got a new offer.
    I am aware that first I need to apply for a new TN before starting a new job, but considering that MEX-US borders are closed at this time, what could be my best option?

    Thanks!

  • Uma Maheswari Selvaraj says:

    My 90 days of OPT unemployment are about to expire. Due to the coronavirus situation, nobody is hiring and willing to pay. Even volunteer position official processing is getting delayed because of the official shut down.

    And currently, it is not possible to return to my home country India, risking my life, my husband’s and my family’s.

    What options do I have?

  • Sudhakar says:

    I am in L1-A visa and its going to max out (7 years ) in may month .. so what should I do in this situation as all travels banned ? Is there still possibility to extend stay in US after max out due to COVID19 ?

    • IanScott says:

      You would likely have to find another category.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • David Li says:

    I hold a Green Card. Currently, I live in Taiwan since I left US in January. Due to COVID-19, Taiwan goverment restircted Twaiwanese people to go abroad. I am afraid that I will live outside US over 6 months. What can I do?

    • IanScott says:

      Should not be an issue given the circumstance.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

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