US allows H-1B visa extension, relief for stranded Indians

Washington, DC: In a big relief for thousands of stranded Indian professionals in America due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US government has decided to accept their H-1B visa applications for an extended stay in the country.

The US department of homeland security (DHS) in a new notification has said it recognizes that there are immigration-related challenges as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes at a time when countries around the world have closed their borders and all international passenger flights have been suspended globally.

The travel restrictions have left a number of H-1B visa holders stranded in the US with their visa permits soon to expire. However, the DHS will shortly start accepting applications for the extension of expiring visas. “We recognize that non-immigrants may unexpectedly remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay due to COVID-19,” the DHS said.

“We continue to carefully analyze these issues and to leverage our resources to effectively address these challenges within our existing authorities. The DHS also continues to take action to protect the American people and our communities, and is considering a number of policies and procedures to improve the employment opportunities of US workers during this pandemic,” it said.

Non-immigrants could apply for an extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS) permit. Without a visa extension, thousands of students and professionals in the US would have suffered. (PTI)

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