California Wildfires Prompt USCIS Unforeseen Circumstances Reminder

As unprecedented wildfires continue to burn in California, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a reminder about the agency’s unforeseen circumstances rule. Because of the potential disruption caused by the fires, USCIS offers greater latitude to immigrants requiring services.

In an August 15 release, USCIS lays out specific services available with an immigrant’s request and available on a discretionary basis. Special circumstances include:

  • An excuse in the delay of a change of a nonimmigrant status or an extension of a nonimmigrant stay for individuals currently in the United States who don’t apply for the extension or change before the authorized period of admission expires due to unforeseen circumstances
  • A grant of re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS
  • An expedited process of advance parole requests;
  • An expedited adjudication of requests for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship who request off-campus employment authorization
  • An expedited employment authorization applications adjudication, where appropriate
  • The consideration of fee waivers requested because of an inability to pay
  • An extension of response time or the acceptance of a late response to a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent
  • The rescheduling of an interview with USCIS
  • An expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, including a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • The rescheduling a biometrics appointment

“When making a request, please explain how the wildfires in California are related to the need for the requested relief,” the release notes.

Additionally, the agency offers guidance for request of these measures at the USCIS Office Closings site where immigrants can verify the status of specific USCIS offices. The USCIS also notes, “If your InfoPass appointment was affected by the fires, you can reschedule your appointment online. If you need additional help, visit the USCIS Contact Center webpage for more information.”

All Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, requirements remain in place. If you have been affected by the California wildfires and your documents were lost, stolen, or damaged, review the list of Form I-9 acceptable documents and receipts for more information on how to complete the Form I-9. You may also visit I-9 Central for more information.