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ESTA / VWP Time Extensions Due To COVID-19, by Lawmaks

Around the globe people have been able to travel using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) often referred to as ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).  However, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic many travelers are unable to return home.

This has serious implications under the strict ESTA guidelines which limits travel time to 90 days. Luckily, there is some flexibility to aid those close to violating the 90-day ESTA time limit, provided you meet the requirements of CBP (Customs & Border Protection). Therefore, certain steps have to be taken in order to successfully request an extension to your ESTA.

If successful, a 30-day extension may be granted. Travelers must apply for this extension before the end of their 90-day VPW deadline. If allotted this extension, a second 30-day extension request can be made allowing for a total of 60 additional days. However, this second extension request must be made during the initial 30-day extension. 

If your ESTA / VWP is not properly extended, and you are considered to have violated ESTA regulations, you may face with having to apply for a US Visa at a US Embassy / Consulate in your home-country next time you intend to visit United States; issuance of said visa is at the discretion of the US Consulate and is not guaranteed.  Therefore, it is recommended to properly extend your stay.

CPB offices are not uniform in their procedures on how to extend your ESTA stay, and each location has different nuances and procedures on how they process these requests.  As such, it is highly recommended to contact a qualified Immigration Attorney for this service.

Disclaimer: The content in this newsletter should not be construed as legal advice.  We encourage you to contact an Immigration Attorney for any immigration law questions you may have. Furthermore, the content herein is the work product of LAWMAKS and should not be copied or redistributed in any form or fashion by any individual or entity.