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Business Visitors and COVID-19 Travel Suspensions Business Visitors and COVID-19 Travel Suspensions

Business Visitors and COVID-19 Travel Suspensions

If COVID-19 and related international travel suspensions (see Ice Miller’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more details) are precluding a timely departure from the U.S., those currently present in the U.S. as business visitors or tourists may be required to seek an extension of status to maintain compliance with federal immigration laws. B-1/B-2 Business Visitors and Tourists may be admitted to the U.S. for a period of up to six months, while visitors qualifying under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (“ESTA”) are admitted pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program for up to 90 days. Canadian citizens, who are visa-exempt, can be admitted as B-1 business/B-2 tourist visitors for up to six months without a visa. All visitors and tourists to the U.S. are reminded to carefully monitor their individual I-94 admission records online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. Those who have entered the U.S. through ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program are generally ineligible to extend their stay beyond their 90-day admission period. However, federal regulations permit VWP entrants to apply for a 30-day period of “satisfactory departure” if an emergency prevents their timely departure from the U.S. If the VWP entrant is granted the satisfactory departure period and then departs during the allowed 30-day period, he or she is considered to have not overstayed his or her admission period. VWP entrants and all foreign visitors who believe the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent them from making a timely departure from the U.S. should seek immigration counsel to extend their status or otherwise maintain lawful immigration status.

Please contact Jenifer M. Brown or Christl Glier with questions. If COVID-19 and related travel suspensions (see Ice Miller’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more details) preclude a timely departure from the U.S., those admitted in B-1/B-1 may seek a timely extension of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
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