Many are going to the USCIS website and filing extension for B1/B2 visas.
In these extraordinary times of dealing with the threat of coronavirus, many Indian Americans and Indians living and working in the U.S. are having to face another dilemma — how to get visit visas extended for their visiting family members.
The maximum stay allowed under B1/B2 visas is six months.
While for those whose parents have just arrived, it may be a matter of only canceling the existing tickets, there are many whose parents’ visa limits of a six-month stay is expiring.
“My parents will be completing their six months permitted stay next month,” said Nita Valar, Texas resident. “Their return tickets were booked for later this month, but looking at the scenario it’s [impossible] to send my aging parents on a flight, where they are more likely to catch infection than being at home.”
While Valar is consulting an attorney to guide her on B1/B2 visa extension, she says the stress is taking a toll on her parents.
Many Indian Americans who have been in a similar situation are going to the USCIS website and filing extension for B1/B2 visas.
A US B1/B2 is a tourist, temporary, non-immigrant visa that allows the visa holder to visit the US for work or tourism purposes. The maximum duration of stay on a B1/B2 visa is six months. The USCIS can extend the stay based on genuine and urgent conditions. Given the situation as it is rapidly developing around the world, most attorneys believe that extension of a visa should not be a problem.
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Ideally B1/B2 extensions should be filed 45 days in advance but in the given dire scenario immigration authorities are willing to help visitors
Many Indian Americans are also cancelling their parents’ return trips specifically because they have layovers in other countries.
Most Indian Americans whose parents are scheduled to travel to the U.S. are also reconsidering their plans. “My mom was supposed to travel from Bangalore to the U.S. via Paris,” said Gauri N. “With the U.S. placing travel restrictions from Europe, flights are already canceled. We have cancelled our trip and claimed for a refund.”
Summer is a popular time for Indian Americans to travel back to India and invite relatives from India to visit the U.S. However, with the onslaught of coronavirus, which has infected more than 150,000 and killed thousands globally, travel in the next few months now looks dicey.
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