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Immigration Law

CBP Offers Flexibility to Departing VWP Travelers

CBP, Apr. 17, 2020

"Travelers Affected by Coronavirus May Apply for Extended Term of Admission

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today that Visa Waiver Program travelers who have been granted satisfactory departure may apply for an additional 30-day extension of their admission period if they remain unable to depart the United States because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The extension grants flexibility to Visa Waiver Program travelers who have difficulty returning to their countries due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, flight cancellations or illness. Travelers who are granted satisfactory departure will have an additional 30 days to depart the United States after their lawful period of admission concludes.

Visa Waiver Program travelers may seek satisfactory departure by contacting:

  1. Any local CBP Port of Entry or Deferred Inspection Site; or
  2. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Contact Center.

Travelers should be prepared to provide their passport number when submitting their request.

Travelers generally must apply for satisfactory departure before their current period of admission expires. Grants of satisfactory departure are made at the discretion of the reviewing CBP Officer.

Travelers who remain in the United States beyond their lawful period of admission lose their eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program and may be subject to additional penalties under U.S. law.

The Visa Waiver Program enables eligible nationals of 39 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. Visa Waiver Program travelers generally are not eligible to extend their stay or change their status after arriving in the United States. Under current regulations, however, CBP in its discretion may grant periods of satisfactory departure of up to 30 days if an emergency prevents the departure of a Visa Waiver Program traveler."