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USCIS Reminds Individuals Affected by Hurricane Sandy of Temporary Immigration Relief Measures

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them.
USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits. Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including:

  • A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Expedited adjudication of off-campus employment authorization applications for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and
  • Assistance to Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when LPRs are stranded in places that do not have a local USCIS office.

Where appropriate, USCIS may exercise its discretion to allow for delays in filing resulting from the hurricane. This may include, for example:

  • Assistance to those who have not appeared for an interview or submitted required forms of evidence. You may show how the disrupting event affected your connection to USCIS and your ability to appear or submit documents as required; and
  • Assistance to those who have not been able to respond to Requests For Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). USCIS will extend the deadline for individuals to respond to RFEs or NOIDs by 30 days. This will apply to all RFEs and NOIDs with a deadline of October 26 through November 26, 2012. During this time, USCIS will not issue denials based on abandonment of an application or petition.

Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program may visit a local USCIS office for assistance. Please check whether your local USCIS office is open before going. Individuals affected by the hurricane who are at a U.S. airport may contact the nearest U.S. Customs and Border Protection office for assistance.

For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs, visit www.uscis.gov or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. Hearing-impaired persons can call 1-800-767-1833.

Please check back at www.uscis.gov for any additional information that may follow.

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Fiscal Year 2015 Limit Set for CNMI-Only Transitional Workers

DHS will allow 13,999 CW-1 nonimmigrants for FY 2015

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow up to 13,999 nonimmigrants for fiscal year (FY) 2015 for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program. DHS published the notice in today’s Federal Register.

Under the CW-1 program, employers in the CNMI can apply for temporary permission to employ foreign nationals who are ineligible for any existing employment-based nonimmigrant category under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The CW program is in effect until Dec. 31, 2019. DHS set the CW-1 limit for FY 2015 at 13,999 – a reduction of one from the FY 2014 limit of 14,000 – to meet the CNMI’s existing labor market needs and provide opportunity for potential growth, while meeting a regulatory requirement to reduce the numerical limit each year.

Today’s announcement does not affect the status of current CW-1 workers unless their employer files for an extension of their current authorized period of stay.  Approved petitions with an employment-start date in FY 2015 (between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015) will count towards the 13,999 limit. The numerical limit applies only to CW-1 principals. It does not directly affect persons currently holding CW-2 status, which is for spouses and minor children of CW-1 nonimmigrants. However, CW-2 nonimmigrants may be indirectly affected because their status depends upon that of the principal CW-1.

For more information and announcements about immigration benefits in the CNMI, please visit our CNMI Web page at www.uscis.gov/cnmi.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

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Deferred Enforced Departure Extended for Eligible Liberians in U.S.

USCIS Automatically Extends Validity of Employment Authorization Documents

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it will automatically extend Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for Liberian nationals covered under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Current DED Liberia EADs that have an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2014, will now be valid through March 30, 2015.This automatic extension of EADs follows President Obama’s announcement today of his decision to extend DED through September 30, 2016, for qualified Liberians and those individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia. The six-month automatic extension of existing EADs allows eligible Liberian nationals to continue working in the United States while they file their applications. The extension also gives USCIS time to process and issue the new EADs.

Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberian nationals was scheduled to end on Sept. 30, 2014. However, President Obama determined that there are compelling foreign policy reasons to extend DED for eligible Liberian nationals currently living in the United States under the existing grant of DED.

Certain individuals are ineligible for DED, including:

  • Individuals who did not have Temporary Protected Status on Sept. 30, 2007, and are therefore not covered under current DED;
  • certain criminals;
  • people subject to the mandatory bars to Temporary Protected Status; and
  • those whose removal is in the interest of the United States.

USCIS will publish a notice in the Federal Register with information regarding the extension of EADs for eligible Liberian nationals, and instructions on how they may obtain employment authorization for the remainder of the DED extension.

For additional information, please visit the DED Granted Country - Liberia Web page on the USCIS website. Liberian nationals or their employers may also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

For more information about USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

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