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Area Man

Visitor from conflict area in Ukraine

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Greetings,

We brought my 77 year old mother-in-law to the US from her home in Donetsk, Ukraine, in August when the fighting started getting very bad. She is here for a 6 month stay (ending in early February) on a B2 Visa good until some time in 2016.

It seems very likely that Donetsk will still be too dangerous for her to return when February comes, so we need to find a LEGAL way to allow her to stay beyond that date. 

We can apply for an extension of the current stay but my understanding is that this is very unlikely to be granted since her stay is already at 6 months. We could apply for a change of status based on her being my wife's (a naturalized citizen) mother, but that may take a while.

Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks much.

FWIW, her B2 is a multiple entry Visa and this is hr 4th or 5th visit on it, each time returning when required. None of the previous stays before this was for more than ~2 months.

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1. On her current stay for B1/B2 visa you can file for an extension for a period of 6 months.=> I-539

 

2. You can just cross the border  into Canada/mexico and get back without filing extension in February.

 

3. I am not sure if you can file for a change of status to Immigrant based Visa when she is on B1/B2 which is not a dual intent visa.

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1. On her current stay for B1/B2 visa you can file for an extension for a period of 6 months.=> I-539

 

2. You can just cross the border  into Canada/mexico and get back without filing extension in February.

 

3. I am not sure if you can file for a change of status to Immigrant based Visa when she is on B1/B2 which is not a dual intent visa.

 

#2 would not work.This kind of "turning around a flagpole" does not result in a new B2.

 

For people from some countries, like Syria, there is a Temporary Protected Status which allows them to stay in the US. But I don't think such a status has been authorized for people from Ukraine.

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Thanks for the thoughts.

 

With respect to option 1, extension via I-539, does it complicate matters if her current stay is already authorized for 6 months, so we are asking that it be extended to 1 year?

 

Thanks again.

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JoeF - Here the Question probably was not for extending a B2. It was more of an extending the I-94 that the person has when she came to the country.

 

They can get I-94 extended while in country by doing step # 1 . They can also exit the country and come back and get a new I-94 as long as their underlying B2 visa is valid.

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JoeF - Here the Question probably was not for extending a B2. It was more of an extending the I-94 that the person has when she came to the country.

 

Yes, it is about extending the B2 status, not the visa.

And as I said, it is NOT possible to do that by "turning around a flagpole", i.e., going to Canada or Mexico and coming back. In these cases, the person would only get the remainder of the 6 months. The person would not get a new 6 months.

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Thanks much, everyone.  You are correct, we need to extend I94.  Underlying B2 is valid for another year or so.

 

Latest advice I've gotten is to file an I-539 requesting 6 month extension and attaching a copy of latest tax return, a statement of financial support for her, and an explanation of the situation in Donetsk (>1MM folks displaced by conflict, ongoing violence in region and unstable political situation).  I was led to believe that would very likely be approved, but I am not so sure.  Would like to hear that confirmed if true or critiqued if not.

 

Thanks again, everyone. 

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You probably should discuss your case with a good immigration lawyer. You may want to give the law firm that runs this forum a call.

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Investigate this option: If your wife is a naturalized citizen, then she can apply for her Mom's green card (IR of a US citizen( and file an AOS. Until AOS is decided upon, your mother in law wouldn't have to leave (if it is past 6mo since her entry on a B2 visa). Takes about 6-9mo for her to get a green card.

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Actually Ukraine situation is independent of this I would believe.

 

Your situation is how to extend a visitor's visa from within the country. Just file I-539 for extension of stay with justification documents.

 

Next comes long term stay for your MIL. Since your wife is a USC , she can just sponsor her in the immediate relative category.

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