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USCIS Offers Immigration Benefits to Those Affected by Typhoon Soudelor


Last week, Typhoon Soudelor devastated the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). President Obama called for aid, declaring the islands a "disaster area," with many citizens left without running water or electricity. In response to the crisis, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is offering temporary immigration benefits to many of those affected by the disaster.

Those who are eligible may find relief through the following:

  • Change of nonimmigrant status to anyone living in the U.S.
  • Extension or re-parole for those who have already received approval
  • Speedier processing of employment authorization applications
  • Assistance may be given to permanent residents who are stranded abroad and do not have access to their documents or within proximity of a USCIS office

USCIS Allows Filing Delays

In the first days after Typhoon Soudelor struck, debris was left scattered haphazardly throughout the island, and the force was enough to break utility poles, uproot and mangle trees, which caused blocks on the roadways. Some homes were even swept away. Fortunately, there were deaths or severe injuries reported. USCIS understands that many families and individuals have lost their homes, and is reacting proactively to provide relief to the U.S. territory.

USCIS will offer some leniency and assistance to applicants for the following circumstances:

  • Those have not been able to submit the required documents or evidence due to the typhoon
  • Those who have not been able to attend their scheduled interview due to typhoon
  • Individuals who have been unable to respond to "request for evidence" (RFE) or notice of intent to deny (NOID)—extension granted for at least 30 days. The deadline will be August 2 through September 2, 2015.
  • No applications will be denied due abandonment or petitions made in the CNMI during these 30 days

For assistance with your application, or if you are looking for legal counsel with your immigration matter, do not hesitate to contact Mathur Law Offices, P.C. for a Consultation!