Now that the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) has passed, many lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens of Filipino origin are coming to realize that the disaster had an impact on immigration-related issues. While these are certainly secondary to the need to help those suffering after the catastrophic storm and grieving for lost loved ones, immigration issues are important, especially now, and not just for you.
For example, many Filipinos in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas may have forgotten that their authorization to remain in the U.S. is about to expire -- or already has. Others may have lawful permanent resident-family members who are stranded abroad without their immigration and travel documents. Or, you may be experiencing financial hardship, but you don’t have authorization to work in the United States.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wants you to know that many immigration services are available on an expedited basis as a humanitarian measure. These can not only help resolve issues for people here in the U.S., but they can also accelerate processing for existing family-based immigration petitions.
Here is a short list of immigration-related help available through the USCIS, if you qualify:
- Fee waivers.
- Extension of the authorized period of admission for Filipinos in the States on nonimmigrant visas, or change in status to another nonimmigrant visa.
- Possible work authorizations, adjudicated and processed on an expedited basis for those experiencing significant economic hardship, including as F-1 students.
- Expedited processing of existing employment authorization applications, as appropriate.
- Extension of some grants of humanitarian parole and expedited processing advance parole requests for Filipino nationals.
- Assistance to green card holders stranded without travel or immigration documents in locations without local USCIS offices.
- Expedited processing of existing petitions for immediate family immigration sponsored by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
More information is available at the USCIS website or by calling the agency’s National Customer Service Center toll free at 800-375-5283. An immigration lawyer is not required to access these humanitarian programs but may be able to help you do so as efficiently as possible.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services press release, “USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures,” Nov. 15, 2013