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We have a B1/B2 tourist visa which is valid till 2027. Last year, we arrived in USA on 12 February 2020.

The I-94 was granted till 11-August-2020.

We were all set to travel back but unfortunately the airlines cancelled the tickets due to Covid19.

We filed for an extension by submitting the I-539 form well in advance of 45 days before expiry on 11-August-2020 (We submitted it by 21/22 of June, 2020) but we never got any approval as such. We do have confirmation of receipt that we have applied for an extension.

We tried multiple tickets through various carriers and the flights kept getting cancelled. We ended up leaving USA on 06 September 2020.

We are planning to travel again next week (7 months after leaving USA) for a couple of months.

QUESTIONS

  1. Have we overstayed in the USA given that we had already applied for an extension and it was due to circumstances outside our control (due to COVID-19)?
  2. We never received an approval for our extension request. We didn’t receive a rejection for our extension request either. However, we did receive a letter confirming the acceptance of our application but they had spelt my wife’s name incorrectly in that letter. So, we spoke to them over phone and they advised us to go and submit a correction online which we did. We then received a confirmation that the name correction has now been completed. We have records of all of these communications. Is that proof enough that we had applied for an extension?
  3. I understand it is up to the CBP to allow or refuse entry, but can you tell us if there is anything obvious which will prevent our entry?
  4. We have never overstayed in USA in the last 10+ travels that we have completed over 14 years. We have also never applied for extension ever before and even this time, we applied only due to Covid19 and the airlines cancelling the tickets. Does that help in any regard? I calculate the number of days and book my return journey at 170 days (we have always been granted 6 months every time we travel)
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  • What is the status of the Extension of Stay application when you look at the case status online?
    – user102008
    Apr 5 at 15:45
  • When checked egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/mycasestatus.do with the SRC number (which is what is mentioned in the letter), it says the following "On July 8, 2020, we accepted the fingerprint fee for your Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, Receipt Number SRC20xx3xxxxx. Our Texas Service Center location is working on your case. We mailed you a notice describing how we will process your case. Please follow the instructions in the notice. If you move, go to www.uscis.gov/addresschange to give us your new mailing address."
    – Kanini
    Apr 5 at 18:45
  • Did you notify USCIS of a new address when you left the US? (I wonder whether it is even possible to submit an address change with a foreign address.)
    – phoog
    Apr 7 at 12:10
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Your visa has not been voided by INA 222(g), since you departed the US while an Extension of Stay application (which was filed before your status expired) was pending. See 9 FAM 302.1-9(B)(1)(c)(4)(b):

[...] In addition, if an alien departs after the date on the Form I-94 passes, but before his or her application for extension or change of status has been decided by USCIS, they must be subject to a blanket exemption from INA 222(g), if the application was filed in a "timely manner" and is "nonfrivolous" in nature. [...]

You should bring your I-539 receipt with you on future entries, to prove that you had a pending I-539 during the period after your I-94 expired.

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