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US to consider applications to extend non-immigrant visas

The Indian embassy in the US had issued an advisory on March 20, 2020 asking Indians to contact the USCIS for extension of their visas.

Mar 24, 2020 18:26 IST
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The United States is likely to consider the applications to extend the visas of non-immigrants amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the whole world to a halt. This news will bring relief to a lot of Indian Americans who have visiting family members. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expected to accommodate the applications for an extension by non-immigrant visa holders. The extension is likely to be given to all legal non-immigrant visas including tourist and business visas, which allow short-term entry into the United States.

The USCIS generally accepts applications to extend the stay of non-immigrant visa holders based on urgent conditions. 

Non-Immigrant visa extension in the US: Key Highlights

• The non-immigrants, whose visa is expiring can apply to the US immigration service for extension and the USCIS will consider the extension taking in view of the present circumstances. 

• For instance, if the non-immigrants are supposed to go back to a country that has suspended all its flight operations, then their short-term visas will definitely be considered for extension. 

• The extension application for non-immigrant visa holders is generally supposed to be filed at least 45 days in advance but given the current circumstances when the virus has infected most countries across the globe including the US, there would be a relaxation in this regard and the US immigration authorities will help visitors at a short notice.

• The United States will put in place special considerations for such non-immigrants with several international flights being canceled and many countries imposing strict travel bans. 

Background 

The Indian embassy in the United States had issued an advisory on March 20, 2020 asking Indians to contact the USCIS for extension of their visas. The advisory followed the Indian Government’s announcement banning the landing of all international commercial passenger aircraft between March 22 and March 29. 

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