For the past several months, the West African sub-region have experienced the worst Ebola outbreak ever. On August 15, 2014, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued Ebola Outbreak-related immigration relief measures to nationals of the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, who are currently in the United States.
When requested, the following options may be available to nationals of those countries:
- Extensions and change of nonimmigrant status: Individuals from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea currently in the United States may apply for an extension or change in status due to the Ebola Outbreak, even if their request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired. When applying individuals should show how the request for extension or change of status is directly connected to the disaster.
- Extension of certain grants of parole made by the USCIS: Individuals from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea currently in the United States on parole may apply to extend the period of validity of their parolee status.
- Expedited adjudication and approval of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students: As an academic student, a person may need to work off-campus if a disaster, such as Ebola, has affected their ability to support themselves. The disaster may occur overseas and affect economic support. If individuals can show that they are from the affected countries and that they have been recommended for such employment by the Designated School Official (DSO), a person may be eligible to receive employment authorization when filing the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
- Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives (currently in the United States) of United States citizens: Conditions in these countries may impede a person’s ability to return home as originally planned. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which include spouses, parents, or children (under the age of 21), who are nationals of affected countries and are in the United States, can request expedited processing of their pending immigrant petitions.
- Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives (currently in the United States) of lawful permanent residents whose priority dates are current: Conditions in these countries may impede a person’s ability to return home as originally planned and may impede a person’s ability to maintain lawful status in the United States. Failure to timely depart the United States may affect a person’s ability to change status in the United States or complete the immigrant visa process overseas. Immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents who are in the United States and whose priority dates are current may request expedited processing to avoid become ineligible to change status in the United States or apply for an immigrant visa overseas.
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications
- Consideration for waiver of fees associated with USCIS benefits applications: If individuals from the affected countries are unable to pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit, they may request that the fee be waived for certain forms by filing a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912 (or written request).
- Abandonment or Failure to Respond to a Request for Evidence: If a national of Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone failed to appear for an interview or submitted evidence, they may show how the current situation in their respective countries affected their ability to appear at USCIS or submit documents as required.
- General Expedited Processing: In general, if you need USCIS to consider a request for a service or benefit more quickly, you may make that request when filing or after you file the application.
For more information on how to apply for USCIS Outbreak-related immigration relief measures, feel free to contact the Law Office of Edward W. Neufville, III, LLC, via telephone at (301)-562-7795 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us at www. Neufvillelaw.com.