Natural Disasters Can Create Special Circumstances

In situations where an immigrant overstays his or her visa and it is direct result of a natural disaster, the government may grant an extension or a change in the immigrant’s status. In that situation, petitioners must show a direct connection between the disaster and why he or she has overstayed or was unable to re-apply for an extension to remain in the United States.

Additionally, immigrant students can be affected if a natural disaster in the United States or abroad has negatively impacted his or her financial support coming from another country. This could cause a student to request employment authorization while they are studying in the U.S. In certain situations where the student can demonstrate how he or she was directly impacted by the natural disaster, an employment authorization may be granted.

Missing or Destroyed Documents

If the natural disaster affected the logistics of an immigrant’s pending case or the person’s immigrant documents were destroyed during the natural disaster, assistance may be available. For example, if the individual had an upcoming hearing and did not attend because he or she failed to receive notice in the mail and this was a direct result of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or wildfire, the hearing may be rescheduled. As noted above, the person must show a direct correlation between why she did not receive notification and the natural disaster. For instance, there may not have been mail service during a certain time period, or the person’s home may have been uninhabitable in order to be present and receive the notice in the mail.

If a person has lost their immigration documents, and it is a direct result of a natural disaster which caused, for example, flooding or fire, that person may apply for a replacement. People who are not involved in natural disasters can also apply for a replacement document, but it is not recommended unless it is absolutely necessary.

Some immigrants in the U.S. may apply for a fee waiver if they cannot afford the fee that is associated with the application they wish to file. Again, if the reason the person is unable to pay is connected to a natural disaster, this must be stated and supported by any available evidence.

Some people affected by a natural disaster may not have been able to file applications as early as they had originally planned and may now require expedited processing as a result of the disaster. This can also be approved under special circumstances.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Those Affected by Natural Disasters

If you or a family member has been affected by a natural disaster, we can help. Contact us online or call Surin & Griffin, P.C. at 215-925-4435 today to discuss your options today with a knowledgeable and dedicated Philadelphia immigration lawyer. From our Philadelphia office, we help clients throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.