How to Extend USA B2 Visa Stay for Your Visiting Family Members over COVID19 Travel Restrictions

In its travel advisory over COVID-19, the government of India has banned all incoming international passenger flights for a week starting March 22, mandated minimum 14-day quarantine for those traveling from/transiting through UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman till March 31; requested cancellation of non-essential travel to India till April 15, and prohibited travel from/through the UK and EU. Triggered by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, India’s travel restrictions have disrupted hundreds of thousands of Indians’ return to India from the US and other countries.

My parents came to help me with my first child birth in the US. Their US visitor visa is valid till the end of April 2020. Flight tickets to India were booked a month ago for their return travel. As the situation continues to worsen due to the novel coronavirus, I am unwilling to let them travel. What should I do? How to extend their B2 visa stay in USA? Please guide me on the US visitor visa extension.

Pouring their concerns over parents’ scheduled travel to India, many Indians and US citizens of Indian origin are posting similar queries on social media and travel forums, seeking help with the filing of US B2 visa extension.

USA B2 visa extension, US visitor visa extension, how to extend visitor visa stay USA

B2 is a nonimmigrant US visitor visa for pleasure or medical treatment in the United States. Parents, siblings and other family members of US-based Indians enter USA on B2 visa. Generally, USA visitor visas are valid for a period of 6 months, which can be extended for another six months with the USCIS approval. A request for the US visitor visa extension should be filed, at least, 45 days prior to a visiting family member’s I-94 date or first 6-month stay expires. If a visiting member overstays B2 visa without filing a request for extension or seeking USCIS approval of the extension, he or she will face deportation to the home country and/or be barred from reentering the US.

Conditions for applying for US visitor visa extension 

You must have a valid, genuine reason to extend your stay on B2 visa in USA. Your non-immigrant visa status should be valid before or by the time you submit the Form I-539 for B2 visa extension. Your passport validity should remain unexpired for the duration of your extended stay. You are sure to exit the United States once the extended period of stay is over. You need to furnish evidence for financial support required during your extended B2 visa stay. You have neither committed nor been accused of any crimes during your first term of stay on a US visitor visa.

Documents required for B2 Visitor Visa Extension 

  • Duly filled I-539 form (PDF or online)
  • A letter explaining the reason for B2 visa extension
  • A proof of financial support during the extended period of stay
  • A photocopy of return flight tickets as proof of your plans to leave USA
  • Visitor visa extension fee ($370 per adult applicant) plus a biometric fee
  • A photocopy of your valid passport and the form I-94       

After applying for USA Visitor Visa Extension 

Once you are done filing the I-539 form to extend your B2 visa stay in USA, the USCIS will issue a receipt with a 13-digit number. The estimated processing time will be mentioned on the receipt. The applicant will get a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting at the nearest ASC. If there is more than one applicant in the filing, the biometrics appointment applies to all. The primary applicant and all co-dependents including minors are required to pay $85 for biometrics.

You can use the receipt number to check the status of your application for the US B2 visa extension. You can also call 1-800-375-5283 to contact the National Customer Service Center.

Upon approval of your application for the visitor visa extension, you will receive an approval letter and a new I-94 with a new departure date. Keep a photocopy of the approval letter and the I-94 with you for use during reentry to the USA in future. The photocopies will be useful to get you a US visitor visa next time. You need to submit the old and new I-94 at the airline’s check-in counter while leaving the US.

How long you can stay after filing Visitor Visa extension request    

In exceptional cases such as the global COVID19 travel restrictions, which is beyond your control; USCIS has the provision to excuse your filing for the US visitor visa extension after or just before your visa stay expires. If you meet the applicable conditions and requirements related to the B2 visa extension process, you may continue to stay in USA as long as your application is under review.

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39 thoughts on “How to Extend USA B2 Visa Stay for Your Visiting Family Members over COVID19 Travel Restrictions

  1. SHANKAR SARKAR

    Excellent regulatory analysis and advice.
    Very comprehensive, relevant and beneficial.

    Wish the Indian Embassy and the Consulates had similar service for the Indian citizens in need.
    With the exception of a very few, the Indian diplomats on foreign assignment are all self-serving bureaucrats with minimal competence.
    The extremely poor directives on OCI are a prime example.

    Reply
  2. Reena

    Visitor visa extension fee ($370 per adult applicant) plus a biometric fee- do we have to pay this – as we are not requesting for extension and it s mandated now for them not to travel back

    Reply
  3. Normalcy Wanted

    At this time of unknowns I hope we can we apply for extension before 45 days. Waiting till last minute is a dangerous game since we aren’t sure of any lockdowns or USCIS themselves would be short of staff or be closed. Can anyone confirm if it’s ok to apply before 45 days please?

    Reply
    • normalcy response

      @normalcy – The text above says at least 45 days prior to expiration. So yes should be the answer to your question. But do seek legal advise to be truly sure.

      Reply
  4. Srinivas reddy

    I am applying for me and my wife in one form. Shall we $ 370 each is 740. Or 370. I will pay $ 85 each for biometric.
    Please clarify about 370.

    Reply
    • Rao Randhir Singh

      In exceptional cases such as the global COVID19 travel restrictions, which is beyond your control; USCIS has the provision to excuse your filing for the US visitor visa extension after or just before your visa stay expires. If you meet the applicable conditions and requirements related to the B2 visa extension process, you may continue to stay in USA as long as your application is under review.

      Answer to your question @Normalcy

      Further, my mother’s I 94 expires on 4/20/2020 and I applied for the extension on 3/31/2020
      After waiting and seeing how the situation goes. She was scheduled to travel back on
      4/19/2020. These are exceptional times and hence should be OK.

      Reply
      • Akarsh

        did you get your mother’s visa extension response. What if things don’t get better by 10/20/2020(6 months) which is the probable extension you will get. Are we mandated to travel after 1 year of stay?

        I have a similar situation, wanted to prepare for the worst.

        Reply
        • Yashika

          I also have the similar query are we mandated to travel after 1 year of stay? visa extension for filled in March end till September end. Wanted to know if again it can be extended and travel is mandatory. Application is still under review.

          Reply
        • Ravi

          I am also in the similar situation. Were you able to find the option to extend the Visitor visa for parent beyond 12 months?

          Reply
  5. sk

    If you are applying online then you need to pay $370 each along with $85 each. In online submission each applicant had to fill in their own I539 forms.
    But if you are sending paper application then it is less $370 for the application (both of you) and $85 each. As the primary will file I539 and all the additional applicants will file I539A.

    Use the fee calculator on the USCIS. It will give you the total amount.
    https://www.uscis.gov/feecalculator

    Reply
  6. Pranusha

    Thanks for detailed explanation. Really helpful.
    I have recently applied for extension (55 days before i-94 validity) for my mother. Case is in “Received” State
    Have few questions, appreciate if anyone can answer them
    1. What if we don’t get approval by that i-94 validity as USCIS staff might e ?
    2. Can she stay with receipt number?
    3. In case of denial, Is she needed to leave USA immediately (how many days can she stay here)

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      “In exceptional cases such as the global COVID19 travel restrictions, which is beyond your control; USCIS has the provision to excuse your filing for the US visitor visa extension after or just before your visa stay expires. If you meet the applicable conditions and requirements related to the B2 visa extension process, you may continue to stay in USA as long as your application is under review.”

      Reply
  7. Cristy

    Is is true that a denial of an extension also has the effect of invalidating the underlying visitor’s visa for any future use?

    Reply
  8. rkb

    Can we apply for I-94 extensions for 2 persons via single online account and via single I539?

    Reply
  9. Kiran

    The USCIS site says “Currently, you may file an Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539) online if you are filing for yourself”. So, can I create an account and file an extension for my mother? She can’t file by herself and will need assistance.

    Reply
  10. Ravi

    I have few questions regarding B2 Visa extension for my parents,
    1. Is my understanding correct that we must receive initial acknowledgement notice from USCIS before their 6 month stay period expiration in order for them to retain legal presence status?
    2. I have heard that currently USCIS sends biometric appointment notice not until ~2 months after the application submission,
    a. Will it be okay if my parents left the country before I receive biometric appointment notice?
    b. will it be okay if they left after the biometric is taken but before the I-539 is approved?

    Reply
    • Abhishek Jaiswal

      Hello Team,

      I have few questions regarding B2 Visa extension for my parents.
      a) My Siblings are in USA, is it mandatory that the person who originally filed(from India) the B2 visa for the first time has to file the extension or other siblings staying in USA can file as well?
      b) Is it possible to change ASC location(different state) after filing B2 visa extension?

      Reply
  11. Viral Makwana

    I have filed for an extension of status for my parents, their current visit is good until Sept 9. I have the receipt and filed more than 45 days before the expiration.

    With the current processing times, I don’t think there will be anything approved for good 4-6 months. My concern is if they return before the decision, will this impact their future visits?

    We are expecting a baby in January and I want to make sure that they get to come back to the US to see their grandchild.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hello! It should not impact their future visit to you in the US. If they leave the US before September 9, 2020, it will not affect their travel to the US in the near future.

      Reply
  12. Nishant Kakirde

    My Mother is stuck in US and I filed her 539 over 50 days ago and still case is pending. Her legal stay ends in two days. I am reading here that she is okay to stay legally as long as her case is pending.

    So just to confirm, once the “case was received” and acknoledged by USCIS, non-immigrant can stay in the US till the decision is made? Can you please provide USCIS link where this rule is posted, that would help.

    Reply
  13. Keisa

    I extended my moms visa once, yet to hear back from them. But now i feel its not advisable to travel in december either thats when her visitor visa expires for the first round of extension. What are my options?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Nandini! Many senior citizens are traveling to and from India. Let’s hope the situation will improve by December. Quarantine norms have been relaxed for people flying in from abroad.

      Reply
    • Margaret

      Hello Keisa,

      My parents are travelling from Kolkata > Delhi > Abu Dhabi > Chicago on October 2nd – with valid visa for 10 years – I spoke to an attorney in the US and they have confirmed there should be no issue flying (issue as in restrictions)

      Your options would be:
      1) Request an expedite on your application in October via call

      Could you share the expiration date and extension on your “stay” date?

      Reply
  14. Jagan Mohan

    Hi I have applied for I-530 for my mother on March 31st 2020. She was on B2 Vistior Visa.
    Before she got her extension she left the country. After she left USCIS sent for Bio metrics appointment. What should be the next step and how will it affect for her next time travel?

    Reply
  15. Venkata Kalyan Krishna Varma Sagi

    I have my family here (adult & 11 yrs child). They both are on B2 and completed their 6 months last week. I filed for their extension I539 (Adult) & I539A ( child) but received only one receipt number. Is this normal? Child under 12 yrs will not have a receipt/petition on their name?
    Any help here is highly appreciated.

    Reply
  16. Jay

    My mom’s B1/B2 visa was expiring on April 16th 2020 and I filed for her I-94 extension on March 15th 2020. Got Biometrics appointment for April 6th 2020, but the ASC was closed for a long time hence they automatically rescheduled it. I got a new Biometrics appointment for October 6th (email received on Sept 18th 2020). Visited there today for Biometrics. After Biometrics I asked the staff till what date her I-94 is extended. She said I will receive it in mail or I can contact the 1800 number. According to USCIS a person can stay legally for 8 months as long as the visa extension application is pending. Let’s see till what date her visa will be extended. I hope they give enough time to book the ticket. Given that the Covid situation in India is getting better, I think she can travel relatively safely now.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Jay! Thank you very much for sharing this useful piece of information with other readers.

      Reply
    • Karishma

      Hi Jay,
      My mom is in the same situation as yours. The cases in Mumbai are soaring. I managed to talk to a CBP officer at JFK on the phone and he was very kind and asked to make the best decision keeping in mind my mother’s health. He also said they will be very considerate when she travels comes back to the US in the future.they wilk keep in mind these unusual times.
      Her 6 months of extension will be up soon and i want her to stay another two months or untill things get better in Mumbai. So can she really stay here for 240 days if petition is pending.

      Reply
  17. Karishma

    Hi Jay,
    My mom is here from india.Her I-94 was valid till April 20th,2020. I applied for an extension till October 15th,2020.
    They have sent a biometrics appointment which i havent received yet.
    Cases in Mumbai are on a rise. We have had so many unfortunate deaths in our immediate family circle back home.
    Plus Mumbai has compulsory 7 day quarantine in a hotel. My mom is 69years old. I dont want her to travel in these conditions. Can she really stay in the USA for 240 or until she gets a decision.

    Reply
    • Jay

      Hi Karishma,

      If you check the USCIS website, you will find that you can request for extension online by providing the necessary documents such as a letter explaining the global pandemic and her advanced age. Also have to provide documents that she won’t be a burden to US economy by providing your salary statements or her bank statements etc. once you apply for it, your mom can stay for at max 8 months as long as her application is pending. Given this global pandemic I feel and hope that they are going to be considerate. Don’t be late in your application though. They recommend around 45 days before I94 expiry. I was late in my application because the situation was developing quickly back in March. Good luck.
      -Jay

      Reply
      • Jay

        I think you don’t have to worry until you get the I94 in mail. I had requested till June mid when I applied as I never anticipated it to be this bad for so long.

        Reply
    • Jay

      Hi Karishma,

      Biometrics appointments can be downloaded online from your account. After Biometrics, they have sent the approval through mail. Don’t know till how long they have approved her stay here. Fingers crossed, hopefully long enough to buy flight ticket.

      Reply

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