We, like many others around the world, have been closely watching the crisis in Nepal due to the 7.8 earthquake that struck on April 25, 2015, and have great concern over how it will affect nationals of Nepal, their families and their communities.
In response to this natural disaster, USCIS has issued immigration relief measures to nationals of Nepal. The following may be available, if requested:
1. Change or extension of nonimmigrant status: Nepali nationals currently in the U.S. may apply for a change of their nonimmigrant status, or an extension of their current nonimmigrant status, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired. Individuals requesting such a change or extension should provide evidence of how the request is directly connected to the earthquake.
2. Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS: Nationals of Nepal currently in the U.S. pursuant to a grant of parole may apply to extend the validity period of their parolee status.
3. Expedited processing of advance parole requests: Nepali nationals may request the expedited processing of advance parole if they have an emergent need to leave the U.S. due to the earthquake and its aftermath.
4. Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship: Students may need to work off-campus if the earthquake has affected their ability to support themselves and is causing severe economic hardship. A student from Nepal that has been recommended for such employment by the Designated School Officer (DSO) may be eligible to receive employment authorization by filing with USCIS.
5. Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate: Nepali nationals who are currently in the United States and who can show that the earthquake has affected their economic support may request that USCIS expedite the processing of employment authorization applications to allow them to lawfully work in the United States to support themselves.
6. Consideration for waiver of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications: Individuals from Nepal who are unable to pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit may request that the fee for certain forms be waived.
7. Assistance replacing lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as your Permanent Resident Card (green cards), I-94, or employment authorization card: If you have been affected by the earthquake and have lost your documents through no fault of your own, you may file for replacements showing your need.
It is important to remember that in order to possibly receive any of these immigration relief measures, you must request them. Some requests require a certain form, while others may simply be made in writing to USCIS. It is also important to note that in order for any of these immigration relief measures to be granted to you, you must be able to show how your need is directly connected to the earthquake.
For more information on how to apply for USCIS earthquake-related immigration relief measures for Nepali nationals, or other assistance related to unforeseen circumstances in your home country, please feel free to contact Immigration & Nationality Law Group by phone or e-mail, or through our website.