Relief for Ecuador’s Earthquake..?

SPECIAL SITUATIONS: EARTHQUAKE IN ECUADOR. ANY RELIEF?

Yes.  Sometimes natural catastrophes and other extreme situations can occur that are beyond your control. These events can affect your USCIS application, petition or immigration status. Neither USCIS nor yourself cannot anticipate these events, but USCIS has policies in place that will try to help you get the benefits for which you qualify.

USCIS offers immigration relief measures for people affected by natural disasters, such as the severe earthquakes that recently occurred in Ecuador, Japan and Burma.

When requested, the following options may be available to people affected by natural catastrophes and other extreme situations (but please remember that you have to REQUEST it…you do not automatically get it):

* Change or extension of nonimmigrant status (i.e., tourist visa) if you are currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after your authorized period of admission has expired;

* Re-parole, if you were previously granted parole by USCIS;

* Expedited processing of requests for advance parole documents;

* Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;

* Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications;

* Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;

* Assistance if you received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to appear for an interview, submit evidence or respond in a timely manner because of the natural disaster; and

* Replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).

If you are seeking relief because of the natural disaster, you must still file any USCIS forms regularly required for the benefit or relief you are requesting. When filing the appropriate form for your specific request, USCIS reminds you that you should explain how the natural disaster created a need for the requested relief. 

You can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833). 

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about immigration related issues. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with an immigration case. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases.  If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. We are also in Buffalo and coming soon to ROCHESTER!!! Please look for my next article in the July edition.

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