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Filipinos affected by typhoon eligible for certain USCIS relief

If you're a Filipino national living lawfully in the U.S. or naturalized citizen of Filipino origin, you may have been personally affected by Typhoon Haiyan, called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. If you have lost loved ones, please accept our sincere condolences.

If the typhoon has affected you in areas related to immigration, you should be aware that U.S. immigration law allows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to provide fee waivers and other assistance with urgent issues caused by catastrophes like this one.

Has the typhoon has impacted your ability to establish or maintain your legal immigration status in the U.S.? For example, has the admission period of your nonimmigrant visa expired but you can't return to the Philippines? Are you in the U.S. on humanitarian parole or have you filed an advance parole request?

For those currently in the U.S., the USCIS is offering assistance to change or extend your nonimmigrant status, even if your authorized period of admission has already expired. The agency is also willing to extend certain humanitarian parole periods and to expedite the processing of advance parole requests.

Are you a U.S. citizen or green-card holder and were in the midst of sponsoring immediate relatives for immigration when the storm struck? The USCIS is offering expedited processing of immediate-family immigration applications for Filipinos. Generally immediate family means spouses and minor children, but you should check with an immigration lawyer or the USCIS about the availability of this relief for other relatives.

Are you studying in the U.S. on an F-1 visa or otherwise legally in the U.S. and are experiencing substantial economic hardship due to the typhoon? Where possible, the USCIS is providing expedited adjudication and approval for off-campus employment authorization requests and similar petitions for authorization to work in the U.S. for certain periods of time.

Are you a lawful permanent resident stranded overseas without your travel and immigration documents -- and there's no local USCIS office? The Department of State and the USCIS are coordinating to provide replacement documents quickly so you can get home.

If you need assistance in any of these areas, contact an immigration attorney or the USCIS as soon as possible. More information on the availability of these programs is available at the USCIS website or by calling 800-375-5283.

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

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