USCIS Reminds About ‘Flexibilities’ When Travel Is Delayed Unexpectedly
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released a statement noting that it realizes that unexpected events in a person’s home country can sometimes affect travel or other plans. Given recent severe weather in the Caribbean, USCIS decided to issue a reminder about available services and agency “flexibilities.”
USCIS noted that nonimmigrant tourists and business visitors (B-1/B-2 visa holders) may request an extension of stay (Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) when unexpected events in their home country delay their travel. Those who request an extension will need to explain how the event has disrupted their ability to travel home and how much longer they anticipate staying in the U.S., and also will need to show that they will be able to support themselves in their nonimmigrant status for the additional time requested. In addition, USCIS said it will consider requests for a change of status to that of a person here temporarily on business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2) where the individual is no longer able to extend their pre-existing nonimmigrant status in another category.
USCIS also said that if unexpected events affect the ability of an F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant student to continue to pay for his or her education, the student may request off-campus employment (Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization). To qualify, the student must demonstrate how the unexpected event has affected his or her ability to continue to pay for education without being employed.
Nonimmigrant visitors affected by unexpected events in their home country also may request expedited processing of the above applications or for an application or petition filed for a service or benefit that is otherwise immediately available.
Individuals who are abroad and have lost their USCIS-issued travel documents, or whose documents have expired due to an unexpected event that delayed their original travel plans, may contact a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, USCIS said.