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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16 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
  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

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