At times, natural catastrophes may affect your ability to maintain your lawful status in America. Such extreme situations may also affect the USCIS forms that you have filed with the USCIS. If you are in such a situation, you need not worry as the USCIS considers such situations and grants temporary relief measures to foreign nationals who are eligible. Temporary relief measures are available in certain special situations like civil unrest or environmental disasters.
Citizens of foreign countries whose home countries have been affected can change their non-immigrant status or extend their status in the United States. Non-immigrants who are affected by disasters and who fall out of status can apply for an extension or for a change of status. While filing their applications, they need to mention that they are applying for an extension or change of status due to a disaster. USCIS will consider their requests if they establish that they are directly affected by that disaster.
USCIS will expedite the processing of immigrant petitions filed by US citizens for their immediate relatives and other family members, if their priority dates are current. USCIS will also expedite the processing of applications for employment authorization documents filed by eligible foreign nationals. Temporary relief measures are also available to the foreigners traveling under the Visa Waiver Program. Applicants who are unable to pay the required fee to obtain immigration benefits, can request fee waivers by filing Form I-912.
F-1 students who experience extreme economic hardship can apply for employment authorization documents and their applications will be adjudicated quickly by the USCIS. F-1 students who belong to affected countries can apply for work permits to work legally in America while studying here. They can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and get permits to work legally in America. Applicants who have been affected by disasters and who have failed to respond to a request for evidence or to attend interviews, can prove that the disrupting events prevented them from submitting the required documents at the right time or from appearing for interviews.