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Relief Announced for Filipino Typhoon Hiyan Victims

USCIS has announced that it will provide certain relief for Filipino victims of Typhoon Hiyan that struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013. Many people were hoping that the Attorney General would declare the Philippines eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) treatment authorizing those Filipinos in the US as of November 8, 2013 to apply for a special status and work authorization as has been done historically for other countries such as Somalia, El Salvador, Haiti and Syria, among others after environmental calamities or civil war. Instead, USCIS is using existing law and procedures to deal with Filipino immigration cases, such as they did following the Japanese Tsunami, allowing applicants:

-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;
-An extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
-An extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
-Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
-Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens;
-Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate; and -Assistance to Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) 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 the LPR is stranded in a place that has no local USCIS office.

In addition, USCIS reports it is proactively identifying and expediting pending I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, forms that have been filed by U.S. citizens for their Filipino immediate relatives. Their standard security checks remain in place. Family petitioners are encouraged to check their case status online at www.uscis.gov or contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TDD assistance).