Many American citizens may not know it, but in order to enter the United States, citizens of 39 countries need to fill out a visa waiver form in order to visit our country (in return, those 39 countries must allow U.S. citizens to enter their respective countries, for business or pleasure, without a visa). The visa waivers are good for visits up to 90 days, at which point they need to leave the U.S. for a time before they’re allowed to re-enter the country with a new visa waiver.
If someone overstays their 90 days, there can be “consequences” for not complying (read: can’t re-enter the U.S. and potentially other penalties), as the present-day White House ominously claims.
Unfortunately, in these days of coronavirus, the possibility of foreign visitors overstaying their time in the U.S., through no fault of their own, can become a scary reality for a variety of reasons.
Fortunately, there’s some good news about that.
The U.S. Customers & Border Patrol (CBP) announced on April 17 that Visa Waiver Program travelers can apply for an additional 30-day extension to stay in the U.S. if they’re still unable to leave the U.S. due to coronavirus.
This extension is valid if they can’t travel because of, for example, flight restrictions, flight cancellations or illness.
The extension doesn’t happen automatically. Visitors must get this permission by contacting any local CBP Port of Entry or Deferred Inspection Site, or the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Center Contact Center before their current visa waiver expires.
More info can be found on this page of CBP’s website.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary