Significant natural disasters, like the flooding that Louisiana has recently seen, can have major impacts on all those in the affected area. It can have some special impacts though for those in the area who are in the U.S. on a green card or a non-immigrant visa.
This is because some of the effects of a natural disaster could touch on immigration-related things for a foreign national who is in the United States. For example, important immigration documents a person has, such as a green card, could end up being destroyed in the physical destruction caused by the natural disaster. Also, the disruptions caused by the disaster might cause a person to not be able to make it to an important appointment they had with immigration officials. Additionally, the changes a disaster causes to a person’s overall situation could lead to them having some new immigration-related needs that need to be met quickly.
So, there are many unique immigration issues a holder of a U.S. green card or visa might face in the wake of a natural disaster. An important thing to know is that individuals facing such issues may have access to special relief from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services aimed at addressing such issues. Examples of relief that may be available include: rescheduling of appointments, document replacement, fee waivers, special extensions and expedited processes for certain immigration matters.
As this discussion illustrates, unexpected events, like natural disasters, can sometimes have big impacts on the immigration needs and options of foreign nationals staying in the United States. Lawyers skilled in U.S. immigration matters can answer questions visa/green card holders who have experienced a natural disaster or some other unexpected event have about what particular options they may have for addressing special immigration issues that have come out of the event.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “USCIS Alerts Customers Affected by Severe Storms and Flooding in Louisiana to Available Immigration Relief,” Aug. 19, 2016