Vincentians currently visiting the United States of America have been advised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade that the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, in the United States has outlined options for persons who are at risk of overstaying in the US, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.                                                                              

In a release issued recently, the Ministry said the options for non-immigrants visiting the United States include: Applying for an Extension.  It noted that most non-immigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing of an application for extension of stay or change in status. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are continuing to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of the forms are available for online filing. 

Non-immigrants are also being advised to File in a Timely Manner, to ensure that they do not accrue unlawful presence while the application is pending.  

Also, visitors to the U.S. can benefit from Flexibility for Late Applications.  Delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can be considered by the U.S. authorities when deciding whether to excuse delays in filing documents, based on extraordinary circumstances.  

The petitioner or applicant must submit credible evidence to support their request, which the US authorities will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

The DHS said these special situations have been used at various times in the past, including for natural disasters and similar crisis.