Immigration relief available to Filipinos in U.S. after typhoon, even without temp protective status

By Balitang America Staff, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 20, 2013

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Some immigration relief measures are already available to Filipinos in the United States, even if the Philippines has not been placed yet on a Temporary Protective Status (TPS).

U.S. officials and community leaders are calling on the Obama government to grant TPS to Filipinos with expiring or expired visas so they can temporarily stay in the U.S., while the Philippines recovers from Typhoon Yolanda.

But the USCIS said, even without the TPS, certain immigration relief measures are available to foreign nationals staying in the United States, if their home countries went through natural disasters.

These include change or extension of non-immigrant status, expedited processing of certain immigrant petitions, as well as assistance to lawful residents stranded overseas.

“Even if your non-immigrant visas have expired and you are out-of-status, you can still have it extended. If you have been granted medical and humanitarian parole, you can also ask for an extension. Those who have student visas who need off-campus employment, they can request for expedited processing. Filipinos who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who are petitioning immediate relatives can also ask for a speedy processing of their documents. Those who are asking for advanced parole are also among those who can avail of immigration relief,” Immigration Attorney Ellaine Carr, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association said.

Carr added that the burden lies on the Filipino nationals to prove to immigration authorities that they were directly or indirectly impacted by the typhoon that devastated their homeland.

For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs, visit www.uscis.gov or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

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