Extension Offered to Departing Visa Waiver Program Travelers by Customs and Border Protection of the United States Due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus

If you are visiting the United States from one of 39 countries which participate in the Visa Waiver Program and you are unable to depart prior to the conclusion of the lawful period of admission because of restrictions and impediments resulting from the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, you may apply for an extension to stay up to an additional 30 days of your admission period if you have been granted satisfactory departure…

Extension Offered to Departing Visa Waiver Program Travelers by Customs and Border Protection of the United States Due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus

…but you should be prepared to provide your passport number when submitting your request; and you generally must apply for satisfactory departure before your current period of admission expires. Satisfactory departure is granted at the discretion of the reviewing officer of Customs and Border Protection of Customs and Border Protection of the United States.

If you remain in the United States beyond your lawful period of admission, you will lose your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program; and you may be subject to additional penalties under federal law of the United States.

In addition to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus as a reason effective as of Friday, April 17, 2020, this official announcement of the extension from Customs and Border Protection of the United States grants flexibility to travelers who qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and have difficulty returning to their countries due to flight cancellations or illness.

Travelers who qualify for the Visa Waiver Program may seek satisfactory departure by contacting:

  1. Any local Port of Entry or Deferred Inspection Site of the Customs and Border Protection; or
  2. The Contact Center of the Citizenship and Immigration Services of the United States

The 39 Countries Which Participate in the Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program enables eligible nationals of 39 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. With the exception of the aforementioned reasons, travelers of the Visa Waiver Program generally are not eligible to extend their stay or change their status after arriving in the United States.

The 39 countries which participate in the Visa Waiver Program are as follows:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea, Republic of
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom, which includes British citizens only with the unrestricted right of permanent abode in:
    • England
    • Scotland
    • Wales
    • Northern Ireland
    • Channel Islands
    • Isle of Man

About Customs and Border Protection of the United States

Customs and Border Protection of the United States is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security which is charged with:

  • The management, control and protection of the borders of the United States at and between official ports of entry
  • Securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel

Summary

This amendment to policy provides flexibility to travelers of the Visa Waiver Program who might otherwise worry about losing their eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program in the future — and possibly be subject to additional penalties under federal law of the United States — because they are unable to leave the United States in a timely manner through no fault of their own as a result of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Photograph ©2011 by Brian Cohen.

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