After the Storm: Help for Filipino Nationals Here and U.S. Nationals Overseas21 Nov 2013
Governments and NGOs from around the world are rallying around the people of the central Philippines, bringing medicines, safe food and water, and building supplies to a region still reeling from the catastrophic typhoon that made landfall there earlier this month. [See A Global Plea for Philippine Typhoon Relief, MurthyBlog, 14.Nov.2013.]
The U.S. government also is taking steps to help the many Filipino nationals here whose lives have been disrupted by Typhoon Haiyan. A posting on the USCIS WebSite acknowledges that, “a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to establish or maintain lawful immigration status in the United States.” [See USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures, 15.Nov.2013.]
The article notes that, upon request, several immigration relief measures may be available to Filipino nationals affected by the storm, including, but not limited to:
- “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”
- Extension of certain grants of parole and advanced parole, and expedited processing of advanced parole requests
- In appropriate cases, expedited employment authorizations, including off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship
- “Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent relatives (LPRs)”
The complete list of immigration relief measures is outlined in the USCIS WebSite article referenced above.
For those trying to locate U.S. citizens who were in the Philippines at the time of the storm, the Overseas Citizens Services hotline of the U.S. State Department may be able to help. The toll-free numbers and further typhoon-related information is available from the federal government at usa.gov, including how to locate Filipino nationals, and where to donate to relief efforts. [See After the Typhoon: How to Find People in the Philippines and How You Can Help, 14.Nov.2013.]
Meanwhile, there is an enormous need for assistance in rebuilding the areas that were devastated by Typhoon Hainan. We urge you to lend any support you can to the typhoon relief efforts.
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