Parents are visiting on B2 visa. Dad unfortunately suffered a stroke and is currently in a coma. 6-month duration is coming up. But he cannot sign the I-539 extension form. Already have relevant letter from the hospital. How should I go about it?

  • 2
    Do you have power of attorney for your father?
    – user102008
    Commented Jun 18 at 2:25
  • 6
    You should talk to an attorney.
    – littleadv
    Commented Jun 18 at 4:03
  • 2
    Note: in such cases, an other person should be legally entitled to sign papers. -- But I do not think B2 extension is what you need. In my opinion other visas may be more relevant (medical/emergency ones). But the practical problem is the prices of health care in US: your insurance may have limits on duration or costs and having coverage may be essential for any visa (also in case of changes/extensions). Commented Jun 18 at 7:02
  • 2
    @GiacomoCatenazzi it’s important to read the fine print, as the status in the US may have an impact on whether this is considered travel rather than residence and thus whether costs are covered by travel insurance or not.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 18 at 7:18
  • 9
    re "power of attorney" - ask your mother. Married couples, especially when they get a bit older, often make out the necessary paperwork for each other, just in case. This is that case.
    – Tom
    Commented Jun 18 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


From the link in Midavalo's comment, acceptable signatures include:

Signature by the benefit requestor’s legal guardian, surrogate, or person with a valid durable power of attorney or a similar legally binding document.

If you do not already have power of attorney for your father (see user102008's comment), it sounds like you would need to have a court grant guardianship. You would need to do this in the court system of the state in which your father is hospitalized. Here, for example, are a couple of relevant pages from Massachusetts:

As littleadv suggests, it is probably a good idea to consult an immigration lawyer, both to reduce the likelihood of your making mistakes in the extension application and because the lawyer's familiarity with the judicial system will probably make the application for guardianship go more smoothly.

  • Isn't there also an exception to the usual visa penalties if you're in a coma? So maybe extending the visa isn't really necessary?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jun 18 at 21:37
  • 1
    @JonathanReez that's something that I expect an immigration lawyer would be able to tell you. I didn't see anything explicit in the law. In any event it would likely be easier to obtain guardianship and apply for the extension than to deal with, for example, the automatic unlawful presence ban.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 19 at 6:17

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