Immigration continues to be a political football amidst COVID-19, and U.S. visa holders have been at the forefront of public discourse as they face furloughs, layoffs and wage reductions.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that it is “adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.”
On Friday, May 1, 2020, USCIS granted a 60-day grace period to H-1B visa holders and green card applicants who have been served notices for submission of various documents.
The 60-day grace period for responding to document requests include:
USCIS said that it “will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action.”
Nonimmigrants may apply for an Extension of Stay (EOS) or Change of Status (COS) if they have to unexpectedly remain in the U.S. beyond their authorized period of stay because of COVID-19. There are options available to anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they are unable to leave the United States.
According to USCIS, delays in filing documents caused by the pandemic will be considered as extraordinary circumstances. Individuals still need to apply for a visa extension and provide credible evidence supporting their request. USCIS maintains that these steps are designed to help address immigration-related challenges as the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 23, Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring people outside of the U.S. seeking permanent residency green cards for 60 days. The temporary ban will be evaluated after 60 days to determine whether there is a need for continuation or modification. The ban does not apply to temporary, nonimmigrant visas. This includes E-class and P-class visas, L-1, H-1B, and O-1, among others.
About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas.com., the intelligent Immigration platform. Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon can be contacted at email@example.com or 405-310-4333 office or 405-821-5959 mobile.