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As COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyone’s daily life, many foreign nationals currently in the United States find themselves unable to depart the United States before their periods of admission expire. As borders continue to close and airplanes are grounded, foreign nationals, whether admitted into the United States through the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”)—which allows foreign nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business and stay for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa—or through different kinds of visas, are left wondering what they can do to avoid overstaying their authorized stays.

One’s inability to leave the United States, does not suspend U.S. Immigration laws. Accordingly, anyone currently visiting the United States, whether with a visa or through the VWP, must ensure that they comply with their authorized periods of stay. Some individuals may be able to apply for an extension of their current status, or change their current status to a different status, in order to avoid accruing unlawful presence in the United States. However, those traveling under the VWP, are ineligible to change or extend their status and can only request a period of Satisfactory Departure, that if granted, provides additional time (up-to 30 additional days) to depart the United States without overstaying an authorized stay and accruing unlawful presence.

If the COVID-19 emergency is preventing you, or anyone you know, from departing the United States in a timely manner, please know that the attorneys at FLEITAS, PLLC are able to assist you. For more information and/or assistance, please e-mail Lorenzo Arca, Esq., at: larca@fleitaslaw.com or Avv. Alessandro Conte, at: aconte@fleitaslaw.com. You may also call our office at: 305-442-1443, or visit our website at: www.fleitaslaw.com.

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