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My cousin was supposed to fly back to Poland on May 27, but we just found out yesterday that her flight is cancelled and the earliest flight back is mid July - her six-month travel visa will expire June 12. We must extend her travel visa - we have no choice - how can we do this and not have to pay any fees... this all is due to the coronavirus.

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    The visa expiration is irrelevant. What matters is the stamp in the passport (I-94 date). – Michael Hampton Apr 26 '20 at 19:22
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    @MichaelHampton which is almost certainly what she's referring to, given the six month validity of the thing that's expiring. The US is very unlikely to issue a visa to a Polish citizen with only six months' validity. – phoog Apr 26 '20 at 20:02
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    Are you positive there are no flights to go back to Poland at any date before or after May 27? From the perspective of the authorities, the lack of direct flights or flights by the same airline would not necessarily be considered a good reason not to leave. Even if it's hugely inconvenient or cost €1000+, they will point out that you do have a choice. – Relaxed Apr 27 '20 at 8:39
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    You should rather be prepared to PAY something if it will avoid some future travel ban or even deportation. – Vladimir F Apr 27 '20 at 10:41
  • The answer below from James indicates there are still scheduled flights to Poland. Your cousin may have to make a stop (or two, or three) on the way, but if there are indeed flights, she can get back. What research have you done? – DavidSupportsMonica Apr 28 '20 at 1:37
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If you haven't already done so, contact your embassy for advice on how to return to your home country. Embassies are organizing repatriation flights that are not advertised and only available by contacting the embassy. For example, there was a Poland-to-US repatriation flight on April 24. Although there may not be another repatriation flight available immediately, it is likely that one will be organized in the next 6 weeks between now and June 12. It may also be possible to return to your home country via a third country (eg return from US to Poland via Germany), but this would be safest if done with advice from your embassy.

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Your only real options lie within the guidelines set out by USCIS here. Since your cousin needs a visa, she must apply for an extension. No way around it.

In summary, they state the following:

  • Generally, nonimmigrants must depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires. However, we recognize that nonimmigrants may unexpectedly remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay due to COVID-19. Should this occur, the following options are available for nonimmigrants:

    Apply for an Extension. Most nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing an application for extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing.

Unfortunately that costs money, but it seems it's the only real mechanism the US has for extensions, even in times of a pandemic. USCIS do offer a fee waiver application here

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  • Might be worth noting that the fee waiver request is only for certain immigration forms and services based on a demonstrated inability to pay. – Traveller Apr 26 '20 at 20:40
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There are still commercial flights to Poland flying every day through July, while your guest may not be able to make it out as originally ticketed, there are plenty of alternatives flying from major US cities to Poland. Have you done a search on Google Flights or some other OTA?

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