USCIS offers immigration relief for those affected by natural disasters

The devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the earthquake in Mexico has been catastrophic for many immigrants in the affected areas. In addition to the trauma and physical damage, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes that extreme situations beyond its control can affect immigration processing and is offering natural disaster relief to immigrants affected by these events.

USCIS advises that the following measures may be available to individuals upon request, on a case-by-case basis:

  1. Change of status or extension of nonimmigrant period of stay for a person currently in the United States. You may be excused for failing to apply for the waiver or change before the expiration date of the authorized period of admission if you can show that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control, such as one of the hurricanes.
  2. Renewal of parole for persons to whom USCIS has previously issued parole.
  3. Expedited processing of parole requests.
  4. Expedited adjudication of F-1 off-campus employment authorization requests for students experiencing severe financial hardship.
  5. Expedited adjudication of employment authorization requests, where appropriate.
  6. Consideration of fee waivers due to inability to pay.
  7. Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny, but were unable to submit evidence or respond in time.
  8. Assistance if you were unable to attend the scheduled interview with USCIS.
  9. Replacement of lost or damaged immigrant travel documents that were issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
  10. Rescheduling of biometric data collection appointments.

Important: When filing a petition, they must explain how the impact of the natural disaster created the need to request relief.

For information on how to request these measures, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.