Stuck outside the USA - unable to travel

Rajiv S. Khanna

HOST, Immigration.Com
Staff member
We have had a series of questions from people who are stuck outside the USA and are concerned about not being able to make it within the time permitted by their green cards. My suggestion uniformly has been that if the regulatory agencies are not permitting us to travel, we cannot be held to the normal allowed time staying outside the USA. If on the other hand, our own health-related decisions do not permit travel during the coronavirus times, I am fairly certain that we can convince the government to allow extra time. So, my advice would be to not be overly concerned. To reach out to your lawyers. Most of us are working even if we are working remotely.
 

aniketsh90

New Member
Hi Rajiv,

I am currently on F1 OPT and I was supposed to start working in LA on March 30 and was supposed to fly back to the US from India on March 28. Due to travel restrictions I wasn’t able to fly back and my employer pushed my start date to the end of April saying that immigration rules would not allow me to join from outside the US. Now I’m not sure if I’ll be able to travel at the end of April as well. The issue is that I am on my 90 day non working period allowed on OPt which will expire in the first week of May. Do you think there can be an exception and I would be allowed to work from overseas or will my 90 day limit be extended? Please advise. This is an urgent matter.
 

ashp65

New Member
Hi Rajiv,

We are a family of 4 who have been granted F3 visa from US Embassy in London. We were due to fly to US in April before the ban.
From what I have read, we can enter the US if I stay in a country not banned for 14 days before entering the US. As this was not possible, what do you think we can do?, out visa expires on 23 June. I know re-doing medicals and paying more fees is likely, but hoping for the ban to be lifted soon!

Hypothetically, what would happen if we landed in USA direct from London before expiry?, would we be deported back? - that's even if an airline would allow us onto the flight. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
Hi Rajiv,

We are a family of 4 who have been granted F3 visa from US Embassy in London. We were due to fly to US in April before the ban.
From what I have read, we can enter the US if I stay in a country not banned for 14 days before entering the US. As this was not possible, what do you think we can do?, out visa expires on 23 June. I know re-doing medicals and paying more fees is likely, but hoping for the ban to be lifted soon!

Hypothetically, what would happen if we landed in USA direct from London before expiry?, would we be deported back? - that's even if an airline would allow us onto the flight. Any advice would be appreciated.

Not Rajiv but FYI a number of people have reported trying to do similar and just not being allowed to board, in a number of cases being contacted by the airline some days ahead of the booked flight to be told they cannot travel.
 

adel2015

Active Member
Hi Rajiv,
My family and I got the I-551 DV VISAs and Alien numbers on February 20, and registered with the USCIS in March 2020 for the Green Card while still abroad. When we were about to travel to the USA, the travel ban was effected due to Covid19, and shortly after, the suspension on immigration.
Are we still able to enter the USA after the travel ban is lifted and before the visa expires?
I am a worried man.
Adel.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
Hi Rajiv,
My family and I got the I-551 DV VISAs and Alien numbers on February 20, and registered with the USCIS in March 2020 for the Green Card while still abroad. When we were about to travel to the USA, the travel ban was effected due to Covid19, and shortly after, the suspension on immigration.
Are we still able to enter the USA after the travel ban is lifted and before the visa expires?
I am a worried man.
Adel.
@adel2015 if you received your DV visas before the ban took effect you have no problem using them to enter. You were not subject to the ban. The only ban you need to worry about is traveling from or through any countries that are listed in the covid ban.
 

adel2015

Active Member
@adel2015 if you received your DV visas before the ban took effect you have no problem using them to enter. You were not subject to the ban. The only ban you need to worry about is traveling from or through any countries that are listed in the covid ban.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I am now relieved.
 

aneogi15

New Member
Hi Rajiv,
Me and my family including my American toddler daughter has stuck in India from March 2 onwards. We have come for Visa stamping . My petition (I-797) is approved till 31-Dec-2020. Can I get my Visa stamped when Visa services opens? Is there any other option ? My career , home and job s are dependent on this. My daughter also need to travel as her medications are pending.

Is there any exception for my daughter being an American.

Can you please help us in this situation?

Regards,
Abhishek Neogi
 

venky_76

New Member
Hello Rajeev,

I have been in USA last 16 years on H1B Visa and did an emergency travel to India on March 5th, due to my father expired.
I have approved petition which is valid till end of Dec,31st with out any stamped VISA. So i went for stamping using Dropbox in India on March 11th,
The application was 'Refused' and when i called the call center on same day, they said its refferred to 221g for additional
processing. I neither received my passport back nor any letter from the consulate with explanation on 221G so far as the lock down started next day.
I'm due for my H1B extension now, can i apply for extension while in India ?
Also please suggest a way to get my passport back along with 221G. Any help in this regard is highly appreciated. thanks
 

williek

New Member
Rajiv, I am originally from Ohio but write from Brazil, a country where I lived from 2004 to 2015. I married a Brazilian in 2008 and in 2015 we moved to the US. In early 2018, my wife applied for US citizenship on the basis of completing three years of permanent residency. She had her interview in April 2019 and was told she had passed the English and civics portions but that, due to our frequent trips abroad in 2015 over a span of five months, they would have to study our travels and that this would delay her case by "a few weeks". These "few weeks" passed the USCIS's own 3 month resolution rule and ultimately turned into 16 months, a period that saw my wife contact the USCIS call center as frequently as allowed.

In October of 2019, we embarked on an around the world trip, which took us to five countries until Covid forced us to stop when were in São Paulo. We had always planned on returning to the US in March so my wife would not pass more than 6 consecutive months outside the US. Unfortunately, she became so terrified of the risks of flying and my membership in a high risk category (I am 61), that was just bunkered down in our Airbnb apartment in São Paulo until she was summoned to an interview at the USCIS in the US this week. She traveled to the US alone for her interview, extremely nervous about doing so.

The agent who interviewed her this time was sympathetic to her case but now has to see next week with their USCIS office attorney if there would be a precedent for waiving the 6 month rule due to the Coronavirus. Otherwise we will be asked to prove continuous residence in the US, something I doubt we can do as all our possessions are in a self-storage unit in the US but we did not continue to rent an apartment there. Since October, we have not really resided anywhere in a traditional sense. Assuming the worst, is this a matter we could appeal to a judge? She never would have been in the situation if her case file took so long to be studied and the coronavirus had not affected us all.
 

williek

New Member
Rajiv, I am originally from Ohio but write from Brazil, a country where I lived from 2004 to 2015. I married a Brazilian in 2008 and in 2015 we moved to the US. In early 2018, my wife applied for US citizenship on the basis of completing three years of permanent residency. She had her interview in April 2019 and was told she had passed the English and civics portions but that, due to our frequent trips abroad in 2015 over a span of five months, they would have to study our travels and that this would delay her case by "a few weeks". These "few weeks" passed the USCIS's own 3 month resolution rule and ultimately turned into 16 months, a period that saw my wife contact the USCIS call center as frequently as allowed.

In October of 2019, we embarked on an around the world trip, which took us to five countries until Covid forced us to stop when were in São Paulo. We had always planned on returning to the US in March so my wife would not pass more than 6 consecutive months outside the US. Unfortunately, she became so terrified of the risks of flying and my membership in a high risk category (I am 61), that was just bunkered down in our Airbnb apartment in São Paulo until she was summoned to an interview at the USCIS in the US this week. She traveled to the US alone for her interview, extremely nervous about doing so.

The agent who interviewed her this time was sympathetic to her case but now has to see next week with their USCIS office attorney if there would be a precedent for waiving the 6 month rule due to the Coronavirus. Otherwise we will be asked to prove continuous residence in the US, something I doubt we can do as all our possessions are in a self-storage unit in the US but we did not continue to rent an apartment there. Since October, we have not really resided anywhere in a traditional sense. Assuming the worst, is this a matter we could appeal to a judge? She never would have been in the situation if her case file took so long to be studied and the coronavirus had not affected us all.

UPDATE
My wife received a letter today from the USCIS. Clearly, their office attorney did not approve a Covid exception. They asked for all sorts of proof that she maintained continuous residence in the US while abroad. While we never established residence elsewhere or took jobs outside the country, we also have had no apartment, car, or insurance in the US since October. I am sure that monthly payment receipts from a storage unit will not win the day for her.

Ironically, I am happy that the USCIS moved quickly after her recent interview rather than again leave her case dangling for sixteen months again. That sixteen month delay after her citizenship interview, coupled with her fear of catching coronavirus when we planned to return to the US in March, did her in.
 

annefreeman

New Member
As a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), absences of more than 180 days to one year may create a "presumption" that you have abandoned your permanent resident status
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
As a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), absences of more than 180 days to one year may create a "presumption" that you have abandoned your permanent resident status
Are you talking about breaking continuous residence? This is an entirely different thing from abandoning permanent resident status.
 

KawKawu

New Member
I am currently outside of the US but I need to return to the US on OCT 2020 - This is the date of expiration of my Permit to Re-enter. Due to the Covid-19 situation I do not see how I can manage to come back to the US and renew my permit, also I have a background disease and I’m scared to fly in this situation.
Is there a way to change my reentry date or delay my arrival?
 

KawKawu

New Member
UPDATE
My wife received a letter today from the USCIS. Clearly, their office attorney did not approve a Covid exception. They asked for all sorts of proof that she maintained continuous residence in the US while abroad. While we never established residence elsewhere or took jobs outside the country, we also have had no apartment, car, or insurance in the US since October. I am sure that monthly payment receipts from a storage unit will not win the day for her.

Ironically, I am happy that the USCIS moved quickly after her recent interview rather than again leave her case dangling for sixteen months again. That sixteen month delay after her citizenship interview, coupled with her fear of catching coronavirus when we planned to return to the US in March, did her in.

What do you mean by "their office attorney did not approve a Covid exception"?
 

williek

New Member
That the USCIS office attorney said there was no precedent for allowing the USCIS to justify her breaking the 6-month rule because of the dangers implying by traveling during the pandemic. In other words, that she would be treated the same way as she had done so intentionally (as in any other year).
 

KawKawu

New Member
That the USCIS office attorney said there was no precedent for allowing the USCIS to justify her breaking the 6-month rule because of the dangers implying by traveling during the pandemic. In other words, that she would be treated the same way as she had done so intentionally (as in any other year).

Did she have a reentry permit?
I have a reentry permit that will expire soon (October) and I am also scared to fly to the US.
I talked with the embassy and they told me to make an appointment and give them proof (?) why I can't arrive.
To be honest, I don't know what to do. Don't they know that there is a serious pandemic right now? why risk peoples lives?
 

williek

New Member
My wife is a permanent resident (green card holder). She returned after 9 months abroad, which has jeopardized her citizenship application filed in early 2018. She never needed a reentry permit. I do agree that Covid should be taken into account but of course the US does not have an empathetic administration, especially regarding non-citizens.
 

RitaGoode

New Member
I got my diversity visa and I was given another letter by the embassy stating that I might not be able to travel to the US due to president Trump’s proclamation that ends on 12/31/20. Wasn’t this overturned? Can I still travel ?
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
I got my diversity visa and I was given another letter by the embassy stating that I might not be able to travel to the US due to president Trump’s proclamation that ends on 12/31/20. Wasn’t this overturned? Can I still travel ?
No, it was not overturned. The restarting of DV visa issuance was allowed to go ahead on the basis that travel on the visa could only take place after the ban ends. The visa itself probably has an annotation “subject to PP” or similar?
 
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