Pandemic

Tourists Find Themselves Trapped in the US due to Pandemic

Under normal circumstances it is recommended to complete this process 45 days before your authorized stay expires.

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Practically trapped in this country, this is how thousands of tourists from Latin America have found themselves due to the pandemic. And in many cases, their permits to stay in the country are about to expire, leaving them worried about what awaits them in the future.

Many consulates are closed, and people don't know who to call, but there are other organizations that can help them.

As is the case for Juana Valencia who is desperate to return to El Salvador.

"On the 26th of this month I will complete six months of being here," said Valencia.

"My mother came on February 26, she had to return on May 15, but due to the pandemic, she could no longer leave, and she is worried because she may lose the Visa," said Delam Valencia, daughter of Juana, who came to visit from El Salvador.

The problem is that the airport in his country is still closed, and according to the information published by the presidency of El Salvador, commercial flights will be gradually enabled until after September 19, but Valencia's visa expires on September 26. August.

"This has me worried, it has me distressed," she added.

The same happens to Ignacio Pino.

"With my dad, his visa expires on August 18, and well, we really didn't know what to do with him, with this coronavirus, and aside from that where he is with my sister, they tested positive," said Pino.

And they have reason to worry, as it is of great importance to request that the immigration department give them an extension of their permit to stay as soon as possible.

If this is your case, you can do so by visiting the site uscis.gov, where you will fill out form I-539, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/explore-my-options/extend-my-nonimmigrant-stay

The process costs $455 although, for many people, it can be intimidating without advice, if it is your case, you can contact organizations like ASOSAL where they will help you in exchange for a relatively low fee.

"It is $150 dollars because we have to translate and do several things so that everything goes in English," said Teresa Tejada, executive director of ASOSAL.
To contact ASOSAL, dial 213-483-1244 there they will guide you through the process.

"If the visa has expired, it is very difficult, so do it before it expires," added Tejada.
Under normal circumstances, it is recommended to carry out this process 45 days before your authorized stay expires, since in the future they may prevent you from returning, or may even expose you to deportation, and having to apply for a new visa in your country of origin.

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