What options does a visitor on the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA/VWP) have to stay in the United States beyond ninety (90) days?

This is part of a series of posts aimed at informing those that can or have been potentially affected by changes in U.S. government immigration policy in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We hope that you and your family are safe during these difficult and uncertain times.


ESTA is strictly restricted to only ninety (90) days of admission. However, the United States government can grant Satisfactory Departure in times of emergency, which results in an extension of the admission period for the individual requestor. Satisfactory Departure can only be used to request an extension of thirty (30) days.

Certain VWP/ESTA visitors may also be immediately eligible to apply for adjustment of status through an immediate relative petition.

As of the time of writing, Satisfactory Departure is currently available only to VWP/ESTA visitors who entered the country through John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) in New Jersey. However, this list is likely to change on a day to day basis, and it is best to reach out to an experienced immigration attorney who can update you as regulations change and opportunities arise.

Individuals and their attorneys can request Satisfactory Departure if a person’s period of authorized stay will expire in fourteen (14) days or less from the day the request is issued. If the person’s period of authorized stay has already expired, then the decision to grant the request will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. Requests for Satisfactory Departure can be made by contacting the CBP Deferred Inspections Office at JFK International Airport.

What is the best way to contact your office if I need immediate legal advice regarding my immigration status?

You can e-mail us 24/7 at mail@salehlaw.com with any questions or concerns or call our office at (305) 448-0077 from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M, Monday through Friday. You can also reach us 24/7 by visiting our website at www.salehlaw.com/contact and sending us your contact information.

We promise to accommodate you as soon as possible under the circumstances so that we can provide you with expert immigration advice tailored to the specific needs of each individual, family, or business. We are professionally trained to assess, adapt, and overcome in times of crisis.

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What is a Nonimmigrant Classification?

If the CBP officer grants the person admission into the U.S., the officer will use the classification listed on the visa to determine the period of authorized admission.

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