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A friend of mine is a citizen of a developing country who originally came to the US to visit their relatives. Their scheduled flight was cancelled in the end of March after their country of origin banned all inbound flights. Likewise no repatriation flights have been arranged from US territory, so they have absolutely no way of getting back home.

Given these circumstances, is it possible to request an emergency work authorization from US authorities, so that my friend could at least sustain themselves for the next 12-18 months or however long it takes for flights to restart again?

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    I've never heard of such authorization, and admittedly don't know the answer to your question. But the statement "absolutely no way" doesn't seem correct. Just because the friend cannot fly directly from the US to the country of origin doesn't mean it can't be reached indirectly, nor that the country of origin cannot be entered by land. Without knowing the identity of the country no one can suggest another course of action. – DavidSupportsMonica Apr 13 at 14:27
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Uzbekistan. All surrounding countries are in lockdown and don't allow foreigners to enter, without exceptions. Aviation is shutdown. No repatriation flights available from the US. – JonathanReez Apr 13 at 14:32
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    There are several flight options to Uzbekistan leaving from Moscow (In May). Your friend must be certainly able to get to Moscow since there are several options to get there, including direct flights. In regards to a temporary work authorization, that seems impossible to me. Not only USCIS is closed for most cases but I never heard of a provision in the regulations for such situation. Besides, it would take several months to be approved and your friend would have to apply and get a job when 16 million Americans just lost their jobs. – IanDan Apr 13 at 14:59
  • Has the friend contacted the Uzbek Embassy in Washington? – DavidSupportsMonica Apr 13 at 14:59
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    @JonathanReez Will be Russia be closed to foreigners by May? I would guess that the answer is probably up in the air at this point but its an option to consider. Also, have you check if they allow transit passengers? Some countries still do. An asylum seeker needs to prove persecution. Which is not the case, so its a no go. – IanDan Apr 13 at 15:59

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