It’s been hard to avoid news coverage of the recent typhoon in the Philippines that led to many deaths and left a large number of residents homeless. To say that residents of that nation are in need of aid to cover just the basics is an understatement. While the suffering those living there are experiencing is devastating, some Filipinos either living in, or seeking to live in, the United States, may have concerns about how the natural disaster has impacted their immigration status as well. Recently the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a statement regarding the way in which it is responding to the natural disaster.
There are a variety of ways in which a Filipino could find that the actions of the USCIS could be helpful. This is true whether someone was physically in the Philippines at the time of the storm or out of harm’s way in the U.S. In some situations processing of applications or petitions could be expedited. Other times, fees could be waived. Extensions might also be granted in situations where deadlines have passed or documents lost in the storm, replaced. Depending on one’s circumstances, it is even possible that immediate relatives of either lawful permanent residents or current citizens of the U.S. could find that they are able to enter the country sooner than they expected.
It is likely that any Filipino who is facing any of these matters is already working with a lawyer. If not, he or she would likely benefit from doing so.
Source: GMA Network, “Yolanda victims reminded of available US immigration relief measures,” Rie Takumi, Nov. 18, 2013