If you are here on a visa you already know that the U.S. immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare. There are different requirements for each visa, specific documents that must be stamped and kept and time periods you must follow. For the frequent traveler the airport inspection is a traumatic two minutes because, god forbid if you ever say something, even slightly inaccurate to a CBP Officer! In all these situations, the consequences are very high, and your way of life, as you know it is on the line.
For our clients who have had different non-immigrant visas (NIV), who travel for business or who are here as students the perils of maintaining status is one the most important aspects of their life. Don’t get me wrong, in this time of the very real COVID-19 crisis we really need to focus on our health as well as the people we love. But the sad fact is that our clients cannot ignore immigration status because to do so might jeopardize their stability.
Today the travel restrictions around the world as well as the stay in place requirements that vary from city to city have completely taken away the ability to follow through on travel plans or to return home in a timely manner. This dramatic change has negatively impacted our clients as they must be able to plan for their future by maintaining and working within the law to keep legal status as best they can. With that goal in mind we are filing extensions of status for all our B1/B2 visa clients. These clients have a legal entry, are here in valid status and find themselves stuck or unable to return home. For these clients we are able to work entirely electronically, file a request with USCIS and provide a “period of authorized stay” under the law. This is essential for all future applications – the maintenance of status is required by law and is checked by CBP upon entry, at Consulates for any appointments and as part of the green card process.
If this sounds like a very narrow and strict interpretation of the law that is because it is, in fact, very unforgiving. The failure to maintain status is the primary grounds for denials for new visas; the Consulates note that under 222(g) a visa automatically becomes invalid if an individual overstays. That’s not our opinion that’s the position of the U.S. State Department and DHS.
This dire picture is easily avoidable and for most of our clients easy to address through a strong filing for an extension or change of status. We have filed cases for a variety of different countries with many different factors as the basis for the application. We have always been at the forefront of technology we have our own, exclusive, award winning client management software as well as a full legal team accessible entirely online or by phone. With these tools we are perfectly set up to assist clients, prepare and file cases and maintain safe operating protocols during this dire, worldwide pandemic.
We look forward to working with you, stay safe and call or email us to get started on your extension or change of status.