Citizens of the Philippines: What to Do If Your Permitted U.S. Stay Is Expiring

Without the TPS option, USCIS offers second-best possibilities.

Following the November 8, 2013 natural disaster that hit the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan) many people hoped that the U.S. government would designate the country for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. The result would have been that Filipinos who were in the U.S. at the time of the disaster would have been able to stay here beyond the expiration date of their permitted stay under a visa or similar status without risking deportation or any future immigration consequences. (To learn more, see Nolo’s article “Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Who Is Eligible.”)

To date, no TPS grant has been issued to Philippine citizens -- and the more time goes by, the less likely such a grant becomes.

In the meantime, however, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has done everything within its power to ease the situation of Filipinos in the U.S. who feel unsafe returning home. Of particular importance is their offer to grant a "change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired."

Normally, if you fell out of status (for example, your six months on a tourist visa were up), you would have to leave for your home country in order to obtain a new visa for return -- and would face the likelihood of that visa being denied due to your overstay.

USCIS's original press release announcing these measures was issued on November 15, 2013: "USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures." And USCIS has recently affirmed that its special treatment of Filipino citizens in the U.S. is ongoing, as seen in its press release of January 14, 2014, titled "USCIS Extends Relief Measures for Filipino Typhoon Victims."

Because these policies are temporary, and could change at any time, your best bet is to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before taking any action or submitting any application to USCIS.