As the world responds to a novel coronavirus, numerous of countries, including the United States, have implemented travel or entry restrictions and closed their borders in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading. Mandatory lockdown has affected the U.S. immigration system and disrupted immigration services and proceedings. In just over a week, there have been multiple changes to the U.S. immigration system ranging from postponing immigration hearings to pausing deportation flights to certain countries and suspending refugee admissions.
With the current cancellation of flights and travel restrictions imposed on travels both to and from the U.S., a lot of foreign nationals, temporary present in the United States, have found themselves unable to return to their home countries and trying to figure out a way to legally extend their stay in the U.S. In response to this situation, a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security said that “United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will ‘favorably’ receive and accommodate extension applications to Non-Immigrant Visa holders.” This gives a relief to many U.S. visitors, including those on tourist or business visas (B1/B2 visas) that allow a short term entry into the United States.
Another important update from the USCIS concerns applicants and petitioners who received a Request for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, USCIS announced that “for applicants and petitioners who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken.”
Amid COVID-19 it is more important than ever to consult with an immigration expert if you are planning to apply for an extension of your non-immigrant visa or need help with an RFE/NOID response. Working with an experienced immigration attorney will help to ensure a smooth process, as well as minimize the risk of a denial. At Root Law Group, we offer free consultations with our experienced immigration attorneys. We are open and continue serving clients remotely during COVID-19. Call us today at (323) 456-7600 to schedule your free consultation!