non immigrant visas

Options You Have If Your Visa Expires During COVID-19

By Peek & Toland on July 22, 2020

Many flights are getting canceled, and different countries are closing their borders due to COVID-19. A question our firm has heard frequently as of late is, what do I do if my visa is about to expire and I can’t go back to my home country because of COVID-19? 

Immigration Attorney Jeff Peek discusses three options that could apply to your case and help you avoid illegal presence in the United States.

1. Extension of Status 

Assuming your permit has not expired, you can file through USCIS and ask for more time. You will need to explain why it is that you’re asking for an extension. You’re going to need to show proof of your intent to return, a return ticket already purchased, your plans, where you’re going to be living, and what you will be doing. It might help if you have a sponsor who is a citizen or a resident to sign a letter.

From experience in the past years, this will typically give you about 5-6 months while they process your application and decide. Therefore, this allows you to be in the U.S. without an accumulation of unlawful presence. 

2. Change of Status 

Change of status is when you change to a different type of visa. This can be a little tricky because the visa you want to switch to has to be immediately available. For instance, if you change from a B1/B2 tourist visa to an F-1 student visa, you have to ask yourself, are you going to be able to enroll in the school immediately? Is the school willing to issue an I-20 to you even though you’re technically on a B1/B2 visa? Can you do that before your temporary visitor visa expires and before the school year starts? Maybe there are other visas like an investor visa or work visas that you could apply. Still, you have to keep in mind that it has to be immediately available. 

3. Adjustment of Status 

Adjustment of status is where you change from any non-immigrant visa to the intent to reside in the U.S. permanently, so you would apply for residency. There are lucky few who are eligible for adjustment of status. Those Individuals are spouses of U.S. citizens, parents of U.S. citizens, or minor children of U.S. citizen parents.

We recommend talking to one of our attorneys to see which option is the right fit. We’ve helped many families and individuals further their stay here in the United States legally, especially in the midst of this global pandemic. 

We hope this information has been helpful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. 

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Why Non-Immigrant Visas Were Suspended Between the U.S. and Turkey

By Peek & Toland on March 27, 2018

When diplomatic disagreements break out between the United States and other countries, the issuing of non-immigrant visas may be suspended.

In October 2017, the United States announced it was suspending non-immigrant visa services at diplomatic facilities in Turkey after the arrest of a consulate employee. Turkey retaliated by halting visa services in the U.S. The United States resumed processing of visas on a limited basis the following month.

A report on Fox News noted the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara said recent events forced it to reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of American personnel and facilities.

The suspension of visas applied to e-Visas, visas issued at international borders and visas in passports.

The action followed an arrest linked to the recent coup in Turkey. Authorities arrested a U.S. Consulate employee of Turkish nationality claiming he had links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The government in Ankara blames the cleric for last summer’s failed coup. Gulen denies he was involved.

Suspension of no immigrant visas with Turkey

Non-immigrant visas with Turkey were suspended

Turkey has accused Metin Topuz of espionage and seeking to overthrow the Turkish government and constitution.

A month after visas were suspended in November, the United States embassy in Ankara announced it would resume processing non-immigrant visas for Turkish nationals but only on a limited basis.

The embassy said on its website the security situation had improved.

Non-immigrant visas include tourist, student, media and work visas. The embassy announced it would process the visas “on a limited basis.”

Turkey was not the only country the U.S. suspended non-immigrant visas from in 2017.

In August, the United States said it was forced to suspend nonimmigrant visas in Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered it to reduce hundreds of diplomatic staff, NBC reported.

The U.S. Mission to Russia canceled all of its appointments in Moscow up to Sept. 1 because of reduced staffing levels.

The U.S. Mission said outside Moscow, at consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok, visa operations would be suspended indefinitely.

Obtaining visas to come to the United States can be a complicated process that’s not helped by diplomatic spats. Our experienced Texas visa immigration lawyers can help you with the process. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

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