Ports of entry (POE) including deferred inspection (DI) locations may be contacted by VWP travelers already in the United States who are unable to depart the United States before their authorized period of admission ends. While, there is no provision under U.S. law to extend the stay of an alien admitted under the VWP, an alien admitted under the VWP who is unable to depart timely due to emergent circumstances may request an exercise of Satisfactory Departure.
Pursuant to Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 217.3(a), if an emergency prevents an alien admitted under the VWP from departing the United States within the period of authorized stay, a period of Satisfactory Departure may be granted not to exceed 30 days – provided that the request is made during the period of admission and the alien is still in status at the time of the request. If departure is made within the period of approved Satisfactory Departure, the alien is regarded as having made a timely departure without overstaying the allowed time. Requests for Satisfactory Departure are generally adjudicated by USCIS. However, CBP may also adjudicate requests for Satisfactory Departure.
- Satisfactory departure requests may be made at any CBP POE or DI site, regardless of the individual's initial port of arrival.
- For VWP entrants currently granted a period of satisfactory departure, but remain unable to depart the United States due to complications brought on by COVID-19, CBP, in its discretion, may offer an additional satisfactory departure period of 30 days in order to avoid the entrants from accruing unlawful presence.
This is a tool Visa Waiver Program entrants in the U.S. can use to avoid accruing unlawful presence in the U.S. if they are unable to return to their home country because of Covid-19 issues - mainly the inability to travel home because of travel restrictions imposed on account of Covid-19.