USCIS: Immigration Relief Measures for Nepali Nationals

by Joseph McKeown

After the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal that has left over 7,500 dead, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced several immigration relief measures that may be available to Nepali nationals who are affected by this tragedy. The relief measures that may be available to eligible Nepali nationals include:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • A grant of re-parole;
  • Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
  • Consideration for waivers of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications, based on an inability to pay; and
  • Assistance replacing lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as Permanent Resident Cards (green cards).

USCIS acknowledges that natural catastrophes and other extreme situations can occur outside the control of foreign nationals and affect their immigration status, application, or petition. USCIS has therefore established these humanitarian measures for foreign nationals affected by such disasters to help them obtain the benefits for which they qualify. 

UPDATE: USCIS announced that Nepal has been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eighteen months because of the conditions resulting from the devastating earthquake. Eligible nationals of Nepal residing in the United States may apply for TPS effective June 24, 2015, through December 24, 2016. During the designated period, eligible nationals of Nepal (and those without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) will not be removed from the United States and may receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). USCIS has eligibility requirements and instructions on applying.