USCIS offers immigration services to those affected by California wildfires

A multitude of wildfires across California have burned thousands of acres of land, displaced hundreds of people and caused several deaths, causing a state of emergency to be declared in those areas of the state.

In light of the devastation caused by these natural disasters and recognizing that extreme situations beyond its control may affect immigration proceedings, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced which is offering certain services to immigrants affected by these unforeseen circumstances.

As it did following the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the earthquake in Mexico in 2017, USCIS reminds that the following measures may be available to individuals upon request, evaluated 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. If you do not apply for the extension or change before your authorized period of admission expires, you may be excused for the delay if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control, such as the California fires or other natural disaster.
  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 petitions for students who are experiencing severe financial hardship.
  5. Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate.
  6. Consideration of fee waivers due to inability to pay.
  7. Extension of time to respond or acceptance of a late response to a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny, if they were unable to submit evidence or respond on time.
  8. Rescheduling an interview with USCIS.
  9. Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration documents or 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, you must explain how the wildfires in California have affected you and created the need to apply for relief.

To find out how to request this relief or to determine if an office is open, visit the following website USCIS Office Status.

If your appointment of InfoPass was affected by the fires, you can reschedule your appointment online. If you need additional assistance, please visit the USCIS Contact Center or call toll-free 1-800-375-5283 or TTY (for people with disabilities): 1-800-767-1833.

All requirements of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, remain in effect.

If you were affected by the California wildfires and your documents were damaged, lost or stolen as a result, review the list of acceptable Form I-9 documents for more information on how to complete Form I-9. You can also visit the Central I-9  from the USCIS website for more information.