OK, due to the current health crisis over COVID-19 there are people around the world who are worrying about the one time use visa that has been issued to them, because travel may not be possible within the expiry date of the visa.

I have mentioned on previous videos, that in EXCEPTIONAL circumstances like this, it is possible to renew or extend a visa, even once expired. So this article and video describes the process.

I am going to paste below the notes from the Foreign Affairs Manual which is the official processing guidelines given to embassies around the world. In other words this is the definitive source of this information. PLEASE note however, that the implementation of this is left to the embassies, so they could decide how they respond, and how they handle each case. All cases are decided on a case by case basis, but at least there is a guideline that you can refer to.

Guidance issued to embassies

9 FAM 504.10-5(A) (U) Issuing Replacement Visa During Validity of Original Visa
(CT:VISA-411; 07-20-2017)
a. (U) If you are satisfied that an applicant will be or was unable to use an immigrant visa (IV) during its validity period because of reasons beyond the applicant’s control and for which the applicant is not responsible then you may issue a replacement visa with the originally allocated visa number within the same fiscal year even though the visa has not yet expired. You should recall and cancel the originally-issued visa and collect once again the appropriate IV application processing fee (including the Diversity Visa Lottery Fee for a DV applicant), unless the applicant was unable to use the visa as a result of action by the U.S. Government over which the alien had no control and for which the alien was not responsible.
b. (U) An applicant who will be or was unable to use an IV during its validity period because of reasons within the applicant’s control can submit a new visa application if the petition has not been revoked and if the basis for immigration still exists (i.e., familial relationship). This also applies for new IV applications outside of the original IV’s fiscal year of issuance.

From Sydney embassy
There are currently no special accommodations for applicants whose visas have expired or are about to expire due to being unable or not wanting to travel during COVID-19. If you are unable to immigrate to the United States during the validity period of your immigrant visa, we may be able to issue you a replacement visa (to extend the validity).

We will review your eligibility to receive a replacement visa on a case-by-case basis, but we are not able to review your case until your current visa has expired.

Please note that one of the requirements for a replacement visa is that the basis for your immigration to the United States still exists (e.g. familial relationship, U.S. job offer, etc.) If you are deemed to be eligible for a replacement visa, this would require submission of a new visa application fee, a new medical and/or Australian Federal Police certificate. Furthermore, you may be required to update Form DS-260 along with attending another interview for the replacement visa at the U.S. Consulate General, Sydney.

If you fall under a category where visa number(s) are limited each year, then an immigrant visa number was only available for your use within the month your visa was issued. There is no guarantee that visa numbers will be immediately available for your visa replacement. You may also want to review the Visa Bulletin for further information on visa number availability.

Note: Due to the limited number of visas that may be issued under the *Diversity Visa program, numbers may cease to be available even before this date.