• USCIS Announces Hurricane Relief Measures
  • November 8, 2012
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • USCIS has announced relief measures for foreign nationals and employers affected by Hurricane Sandy. In general, the agency may exercise its discretion to extend deadlines and forgive late filings from those who are able to demonstrate that the hurricane impaired their ability to submit filings or evidence, or to appear for USCIS interviews.

    Extensions and changes of status. Sponsoring employers and foreign nationals can request the agency to exercise its discretion to accept late-filed extensions and changes of status after an individual’s lawful period of admission has expired.

    Deadlines for evidence requests. Employers who received agency requests for evidence (RFEs) or notices of intent to deny a case (NOIDs) may be able to receive an extension of their deadline to respond. In its discretion, USCIS may grant 30-day extensions on RFEs and NOIDs with due dates of October 26 through November 26. During this period, the agency will not deny a case on the ground that it was abandoned for lack of an RFE or NOID response.

    USCIS appearances; submission of evidence. Foreign nationals who were unable to appear for a USCIS green card or naturalization interview or provide required evidence can request an exercise of discretion by showing how the hurricane affected their ability to appear or submit documents.

    Visa Waiver Program travelers and other foreign travelers. VWP travelers who, due to the hurricane, are unable to depart the United States within 90 days from their initial admission are asked to visit a USCIS office for assistance. Those at airports can contact Customs and Border Protection.

    Other forms of available relief. USCIS may also consider other forms of relief for foreign nationals affected by the hurricane, including the expedited adjudication of applications for employment authorization, and expedited off-campus work authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship.