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bobbyskuller

B1 visa - I539 pending and visitors left US - want to return back

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Hi,

My inlaws were visiting US to help with my sister-in-laws family last year in July 2020. Due to covid they decided to extend their stay and applied for I539 and got finger printed. When travel resumed again this year, they decided to leave in March 2021 before their extension was approved. 

Now we need them to come to help with a newborn. There is still a ban and we are waiting for that to be lifted (hopefully by end of November or early December 2021). 

Can they come back with the same visa they currently have or should they reapply for a visa? Their current 10 year visa expires in June 2022. So either way we are not too worried and will reapply if we need to. 

What is the process if they still have a I539 pending when they left during their last visit. Is covid an valid reason to explain their departure? Please help so we can start our process immediately.  

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You don't need to re-apply for the same visa type unless it expired, in your case its not. You could legally stay as long as your application is pending with USCIS, say the application is approved and I-94 was issued with ~6month extension, then you're in better shape as they left prior to expiry date. Say  the application was denied, you would be given ~60days to leave, in your case they already left before denial, so you're in even better shape there....the immigration officer would see that I-539 is pending and might ask why they had to leave prior to decision and you could say...we left to take care of family and there's nothing wrong with it.

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