C.B.P. News Release

Travel Advisory for Snow-Bound Visa Waiver Program Travelers

(Thursday, December 30, 2010)

International travelers who are not able to leave the United States due to flight delays may inadvertently violate visitor or visa waiver-authorized periods of stay.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are working together to mitigate the negative consequences of winter storm situations for international travelers whose flights have been cancelled or delayed due to this situation.

If a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) traveler is stranded in the U.S. because of the airport closures in the U.S. east coast due to the winter storm and is about to exceed their authorized stay as a direct result of these closures, the traveler has two avenues for relief:

If the traveler is at the airport, traveling under the Visa Waiver Program and unable to depart timely as a result of airport closures or flight delays/cancellations, the traveler should contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at the airport.  

The traveler may also contact the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. 

Both component agencies have provided their staff with guidance on the applicable legal authorities under the VWP in circumstances such as this.

International visitors traveling under a visa should contact the nearest USCIS office and follow the instructions found on the CIS website. ( USCIS - Extend My Stay )

While this link recommends initiating the process 45 days in advance, USCIS is providing guidance on how to handle these cases over this weekend.

The VWP enables citizens and nationals from 36 countries to travel to and enter the United States for business or visitor purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/adv ... _bound.xml