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USCIS Provides Immigration Relief Measures for Foreign Nationals Impacted by Natural Disasters or Civil Unrests

Nov 20 2013

 

Conditions
in a foreign national’s home country such as civil unrest or a severe
environmental disaster may impede their ability to return home as
originally planned or may create temporary financial difficulties for them and
their family. These extreme situations may also may affect their ability to
maintain lawful immigration status while in the United States. During these
special situations, USCIS has made provisions for temporary relief measures to
eligible foreign nationals. Recently, USCIS provided for immigration
relief measures for Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan and for
nationals from Central American countries affected by extreme flooding.

 

Because
of these temorary measures, the foreign nationals impacted by such extreme
situations may be eligible to benefit from the following immigration
relief measures:

  • Change or
    extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United
    States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of
    admission has expired;
  • Extension
    of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
  • Extension
    of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance
    parole requests;
  • Expedited
    adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus
    employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic
    hardship;
  • Expedited
    processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens
    and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
  • Expedited
    adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
    and
  • Assistance
    to LPRs stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as
    Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards). USCIS and the Department of State
    will coordinate on these matters when the LPR is stranded in a place that
    has no local USCIS office.
  • Fee
    Waiver: affected nationals may request waiver of the fees for certain
    forms by filing a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912 (or a written
    request).
  • Employment
    Authorization for Students: if you are an academic student, you may need
    to work off-campus if a disaster has affected your ability to support
    yourself. The disaster may occur in the United States and prevent you from
    working on-campus or the disaster may occur overseas and affect your
    economic support. If you can demonstrate that you are from an affected
    country or region and you have been recommended for such employment by the
    Designated School Official (DSO), you may be eligible to receive
    employment authorization when filing the I-765, Application for Employment
    Authorization.
  • Document
    Replacement: if you have lost your USCIS-issued documents through no fault
    of your own, you may show your need for replacing the documents.

Besides temporary immigration relief measures, the
Secretary of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated number of
foreign countries for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions
in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning
safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the
return of its nationals adequately.  USCIS may grant TPS to eligible
nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the
United States, or eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in
the designated country may also be granted TPS. Currently, El
Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somania, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria
 has
been 
designated as TPS country. During the TPS designated
period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily
eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible) are
not removable from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization
document (EAD), may be granted travel authorization, may apply for nonimmigrant
status, file for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition, apply for
any other immigration benefit or protection for which they may be eligible.
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of
his or her immigration status in the United States. 

 

Give us a call if you or anyone you know may
have been affected by these hardships and need legal support. Our Law Offices
can offer a pro bono legal services for eligible individuals.

 
   
   
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