By Maud Poudat | US Immigration Attorney
Posted: April 15, 2020
With the stress of COVID-19, many visitors may be wondering what happens to them should their flight be cancelled, and they are unable to depart. What if I am on ESTA and my flight was cancelled? What do I do if I cannot depart prior to the expiration of my stay?
Our office has been successful in obtaining what is called Satisfactory Departure from our local Customs and Border Protection office, that is a 30 days extension to depart the United States. Know that by law, a one-time 30 days extension can be granted, but not more. You, as an individual, may not be able to request it from CBP directly, but our office can assist you with this process. It will be important to stress the need and urgency of getting this extension and to request it BEFORE your ESTA authorization expires (the 90 days authorized period of stay is shown on your I-94 record found at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home) . What you will need is:
If CBP deems the request urgent and necessary, they will grant and update the I-94 record online. It is recommended to take action and request the satisfactory departure rather than falling out of status. Because of the current uncertainties in the immigration realm, falling out of status could lead to future denial of ESTA and/or visas.
Immigration attorney Maud Poudat is the AILA (American Immigration Lawyer Association) Central Florida Chapter Liaison with CBP and is very experienced dealing with the agency. Contact our experienced attorneys today at (407) 674-6968 or fill out the online form located on this page should you need assistance with this process.