U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them.
USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits. Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including:
1. A 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;
2. Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
3. Expedited adjudication of off-campus employment authorization applications for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
4. Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and
5. Assistance to Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) 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 LPRs are stranded in places that do not have a local USCIS office.
Where appropriate, USCIS may exercise its discretion to allow for delays in filing resulting from the hurricane. This may include, for example:
1. Assistance to those who have not appeared for an interview or submitted required forms of evidence. You may show how the disrupting event affected your connection to USCIS and your ability to appear or submit documents as required; and
2. Assistance to those who have not been able to respond to Requests For Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). USCIS will extend the deadline for individuals to respond to RFEs or NOIDs by 30 days. This will apply to all RFEs and NOIDs with a deadline of October 26 through November 26, 2012. During this time, USCIS will not issue denials based on abandonment of an application or petition.
Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program may visit a local USCIS office for assistance. Please check whether your local USCIS office is open before going. Individuals affected by the hurricane who are at a U.S. airport may contact the nearest U.S. Customs and Border Protection office for assistance.
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