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My B extension of status petition has been pending for almost 6 months. Can I stay in the U.S. as long as the petition is pending or do I have to leave the U.S.?

By November 24, 2020April 30th, 2021Immigration
Labeled for reuse, image courtesy of Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/p-814697/?no_redirect

B-1 visa classification is available to foreign nationals who desire to enter the U.S. for short-term business activities. For B-1 purposes, engaging in business generally means business activities other than performance of skilled and unskilled labor that are a necessary incident to your business abroad, and the visa is not intended for obtaining and engaging in employment while in the United States.

Please see some examples of activities that are permitted under the B-1 status when you click here and here.

B-2 visa classification is available to foreign nationals who desire to enter the U.S. for tourism, to visit family members and/or perform other recreational tasks.

You can read more about the B-2 visa when you click here.

Many people who were in the U.S. in the beginning of 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic started spreading in the U.S. filed either a change of status application or extension of status application with USCIS.

This blog will discuss a scenario when you entered either as a B-1 business visitor or a B-2 tourist visitor and you filed an I-539, Extension of Status petition with USCIS.

Example

You entered as a B-1 business visitor on January 1, 2020 and you were granted 6 months of stay, until June 30, 2020. On June 15, you filed an extension of status petition with USCIS in which you asked that your B1 status is extended from July 1, 2020 until January 1, 2021 (6 months). Your petition is currently still pending with USCIS and you have not heard back. You are now not sure whether you can stay in the U.S. past January 1, 2021 or whether you should leave the U.S. before this date.

In this scenario, when USCIS has not adjudicated the extension of status petition within the requested 6 month period (until January 1, 2021), you should either:

 

  1. Leave the U.S. before January 1, 2021, or
  2. Interfile a second extension of status petition before January 1, 2021.

If you decide to interfile a second extension of status petition, then you should include a receipt notice of the pending extension of status petition, so USCIS can easily see you already have one petition pending. Additionally, you will have to include explanation as to why you need to have your status extended again and submit a supporting documentation to that effect.

For example, if you originally indicated that you need to have your status extended to meet with business associates and/or your employees or to investigate E-2 opportunities, you should be able to explain why the additional 6 months in your original extension of status petition were not sufficient and why you need to stay longer.

Please read our blog post on what is a National Interest Exception when you click here.

Please see our Q&A blog post on travelling to the U.S. from Europe during Corona virus when you click here.

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