As a result of the disaster and humanitarian crisis in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, Filipino nationals may be eligible for some immigration relief measures through The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For example, if you are an F-1 visa student and your parents can no longer financially support you due to being affected by Haiyan you may be eligible for off-campus employment. There is also the possibility of leniency if you have not appeared for an interview or submitted evidence required for your immigration status or petition; you may show how the typhoon affected your connection to USCIS and your ability to appear or submit documents as required. Finally, there is the possibility of expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents.
If you or a Filipino family member have been affected by Typohoon Haiyan, make sure you are receiving the immigration relief benefits available to you by contacting the USCIS or an attorney. According to the USCIS, available benefits may include:
- Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for a person currently in the United States, even if the request is filed late
- Extension of certain grants of parole or advance parole and expedited processing of advance parole requests
- Expedited approval of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 Visa students experiencing severe economic hardship
- Expedited processing for employment authorization applications
- Assistance to lawful permanent residents that are stranded overseas without travel documents or immigration cards
- Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent resident
Starting August 2013: U.S. Legal Permanent Residents may petition their spouse and children (unmarried and under 21) with no waiting time
By Guest Author — Adriana Kostencki
According to the upcoming Visa Bulletin for August 2013, released by the Department of State (http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_6028.html), the family-based 2A category (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents) will be current in August of 2013 for all nationalities. In the past, spouses and children of U.S. Legal Permanent Residents have faced a wait of typically three to five years for a visa to become available to them due to annual limits on the number allotted in this category.
The great news is that according to the Visa Bulletin for August 2013, this category will be current, meaning that spouses and children of U.S. Legal Permanent Residents will not have to wait for their immigrant visas to become available. It is very important for U.S. Permanent Residents interested in petitioning their spouse and/or children (unmarried and under 21), to begin with the preparation of the necessary paperwork as soon as possible, as the applications must be filed on or after August 01, 2013 before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Also, it is highly advisable that all U.S. Legal Permanent Residents that qualify under this category, file their petitions on behalf of their spouse and/or children (unmarried and under 21) during the month of August 2013, as it is not certain that the F-2A category will remain current in September of 2013.
— By Guest Author E. Adriana Kostencki, Esq.
Licensed to practice law in Venezuela and Florida, U.S.A.
U.S. employers may require the services of a foreign national to work at their company or business. Immigration laws, however, require that an individual whom the U.S. employer plans to employ or continue to employ in the United States is authorized to accept employment in the United States. If the individual is already a permanent resident (green card holder), the U.S. employer may hire that individual, but must comply with the employment verification requirements. If the foreign national is not already a permanent resident, the U.S. employer will need to file a petition so that the individual may obtain the appropriate immigrant or nonimmigrant classification.
One of the most common non-immigrant visa classifications available to foreign professionals is the H-1B visa category, which enables U.S. companies to hire foreign skilled professionals to perform services in a specialty occupation. The law defines “profession” as including, but not limited, to architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers. The specialty occupation requires the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent through a combination of education, training, and work experience) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
In October 2012, the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) extended the Temporary Protective Status (“TPS”) period for Haitians to July 22, 2014 as a result of a devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010. On December 27, 2012 the USCIS announced that it was extending the 60-day period for Haitians to re-register for TPS through January 29, 2013 (the prior deadline was November 30, 2012). The deadline to re-register was extended largely because of the effect that Hurricane Sandy had on many areas with high Haitian populations.
The re-registration deadline applies to people that have already been granted TPS status and is necessary to maintain status. However, even those that have never been granted TPS may be eligible to file a late application. Haitians who have continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2011 are eligible to apply for TPS status. Even if a person’s residence was not continuous since that time, an immigration attorney will be able to evaluate the case to see if the person falls into an exception.
Are you a U.S. Citizen who wants to help a family member obtain a green card? Here is the basic who, what, when, where and why of the process.
— with guest author E. Adriana Kostencki
Who can I sponsor?
Any citizen of the United States can help certain family members become a “lawful permanent resident” – often referred to as obtaining a “green card” – by applying to the U.S. government. A citizen can apply on behalf of a spouse or children, and citizens 21 years old or older may also apply for their parents or siblings. The citizen, or “sponsor,” must establish a family relationship and that he or she has enough income or assets to support the family member in the United States.
What is a green card?
A “green card” is literally a green card that proves a person is authorized to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis and is registered according to the law. A green card is generally valid for ten years, but may be renewed indefinitely.
When will my family member obtain their green card?
A U.S. citizen’s spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents will be invited to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status as soon as your application to the government is approved. If your family member is already in the United States after entering legally, he or she can apply to adjust his or her status at the same time you file the petition. Other family members may have to wait several years before they can adjust their status in the United States. You can check processing times on the USCIS’s website.