TPS Extended

Here’s an update. The USCIS has announced that it is complying with the preliminary injunction by extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain citizens as litigation continues. This is for citizens of TPS countries that were previously terminated by the Trump administration.  Citizens of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador can remain in the United States on TPS due to the preliminary injunction in the California federal district court case, Ramos v. Nielson, 18-cv-01554 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 3, 2018).

In late 2018, the administration sought to terminate TPS for many individuals which created turmoil. Many of these individuals have lived in the United States for decades, built businesses and raised families here. Such a termination of TPS would undoubtedly create another humanitarian crisis for those having to return to unsafe and unfamiliar countries. Let’s see what the court decides. In the meantime, I also thought it important to cover TPS eligibility and processing for your general information.

What is TPS?

The Secretary of Homeland Security may declare that citizens of certain countries or regions can apply for TPS if they are currently in the United States. Events or developments that trigger unstable or unsafe conditions in the country can lead to such a designation. Such conditions include wars, natural disasters like major earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, serious disease outbreaks like ebola, and other extraordinary circumstances. For example, there is a current debate about whether Venezuela should be designated a TPS country because of the internal turmoil and humanitarian crisis. The Trump administration has been seeking to limit TPS and terminate many of them, which has led to the current litigation in Ramos.

Current TPS countries

TPS countries include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Each of these countries have endured years of conflict or natural disasters which caused thousands to live in the United States. For example, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 created such extensive damage in the country that they could not return.

Eligibility for TPS

A TPS beneficiary must:

  • Be a citizen of a TPS country, or a person without nationality who last resided in the designated country;
  • File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of the country’s TPS designation (Late initial filers see ‘Filing Late’ section below); and
  • Have been continuously physically present and residing in the United States since the date of the most recent designation date of the TPS country. There are exceptions to the continuous physical presence and residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. It is important to inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the date you last met conditions for continuous physical presence and residence.

There are certain factors that may affect your eligibility for TPS which include:

  • A conviction for a felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
  • Grounds of inadmissibility;
  • Bars to asylum which include persecution of others and terrorism;
  • Failure to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements; or
  • Failure to apply within the initial, late initial TPS registration or registration deadline (without good cause).

The TPS Filing process

Step 1: Determine the important TPS registration, designation, continuous presence and residence dates.

El Salvador:

  • Designation Date: March 9, 2001.
  • Re-registration: No new TPS beneficiaries can file. However due to the hold on TPS termination, those who are currently TPS beneficiaries can continue in this status without submitting re-registering as long as they properly re-registered during the registration periods between Jan. 18, 2018, through March 19, 2018 and Jul. 8, 2016, through Sept. 6, 2016.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until Jan. 2, 2020.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Feb. 13, 2001.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since March 9, 2001.
  • TPS to: duration of the temporary injunction.

Haiti:

  • Designation Date: Jan. 21, 2010.
  • Re-designation Date: July 23, 2011.
  • Re-registration: No new TPS beneficiaries can file. However due to the hold on TPS termination, those who are currently TPS beneficiaries can continue in this status without submitting re-registering as long as they properly re-registered during the registration periods between Jan. 18, 2018 through March 19, 2018, May 24, 2017 through July 24, 2017 and Aug. 25, 2015 through Oct. 26, 2015.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until Jan. 2, 2020.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Jan. 12, 2011.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since July 23, 2011.
  • TPS to: duration of the temporary injunction.

Honduras:

  • Designation Date: Jan. 5, 1999.
  • Re-registration: No new TPS beneficiaries can file. However due to the hold on TPS termination, those who are currently TPS beneficiaries can continue in this status without submitting re-registering as long as they properly re-registered during the registration periods between June 5, 2018 through Aug. 6, 2018.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until Jan. 1, 2019 (additional auto-extension through June 30, 2019, for certain individuals with pending EAD applications).
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Dec. 30, 1998.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since Jan. 5, 1999.
  • TPS to: Jan. 5, 2020.

Nepal:

  • Designation Date: June 24, 2015.
  • Re-registration: Between May 22, 2018 through July 23, 2018.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Was auto-extended until Dec. 21, 2018.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since June 24, 2015.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since June 24, 2015.
  • TPS extended to: June 24, 2019.

Nicaragua:

  • Designation Date: Jan. 5, 1999.
  • Re-registration: No new TPS beneficiaries can file. However due to the hold on TPS termination, those who are currently TPS beneficiaries can continue in this status without re-registering as long as they properly re-registered during the registration periods between Dec. 15, 2017, through Feb. 13, 2018 and May 16, 2016, through July 15, 2016.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until Jan. 2, 2020.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Dec. 30, 1998.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since Jan. 5, 1999.
  • TPS extended to: duration of the temporary injunction.

Somalia:

  • Designation Dates:Sept. 4, 2001 and Sept.18, 2012.
  • Re-registration: Between Aug. 27, 2018 – Oct. 26, 2018.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Auto-extended until March 16, 2019.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since May 1, 2012.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since Sept. 18, 2012.
  • TPS to: March 17, 2020.

South Sudan:

  • Designation Date: November 3, 2011.
  • Re-designation Date: September 2, 2014 and January 25, 2016.
  • Re-registration: September 21, 2017 – November 20, 2017.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until May 1, 2018, but only for beneficiaries who re-register and request a new EAD.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since January 25, 2016.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since May 3, 2016.
  • TPS extended to: May 2, 2019.

Sudan:

  • Designation Date: Nov. 4, 1997.
  • Re-designation Date: Nov. 9, 1999, Nov. 2, 2004, and May 3, 2013.
  • Re-registration: No new TPS beneficiaries can file. However due to the hold on TPS termination, those who are currently TPS beneficiaries can continue in this status without re-registering as long as they properly re-registered during the registration periods between Oct. 11, 2017 – Dec. 11, 2017 and Jan. 25, 2016 – March 25, 2016.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until Jan. 2, 2020.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Jan. 9, 2013.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since May 3, 2013.
  • TPS to: duration of the temporary injunction.

Syria:

  • Designation Date: March 29, 2012.
  • Re-designation Date: Aug. 1, 2016.
  • Re-registration: March 5, 2018 through May 4, 2018.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Will be auto-extended until Sept. 27, 2018 (additional auto-extension through March 26, 2019, for certain individuals with pending EAD applications.
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Aug. 1, 2016.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since Oct. 1, 2016.
  • TPS to: Sept. 30, 2019.

Yemen:

  • Designation Date: Sept. 3, 2015.
  • Re-designation Date: March 4, 2017.
  • Re-registration: Aug. 14, 2018 – Oct. 15, 2018.
  • Employment Authorization Document: Auto-extended until March 2, 2019
  • Continuous Residence in the United States: Since Jan. 4, 2017.
  • Continuous Physical Presence in the United States: Since March 4, 2017.
  • TPS to: March 3, 2020.

Step 2: Complete the Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

Form I-821: When filing the Form I-821, it is also important to determine whether you should apply for the form I-765 for work authorization at the same time. If a ground of inadmissibility applies, it is important to submit the Form I-601 waiver with the Form I-821. If a ground of inadmissibility was waived before the TPS application, you do not need to file a waiver, unless you now have a new ground of inadmissibility since the last granted waiver.

Attach Evidence: You should submit evidence with the form to show that you meet eligibility requirements. Such evidence includes:

  • Evidence of Identity and Nationality: You must submit this evidence to prove your identity and that you are a national of a TPS country (or that you have no nationality and you last habitually resided in a TPS country). To show identity and nationality you can submit a copy of your current and valid passport, your birth certificate with government issued photo identification, official documents from your country validating your identity such as fingerprints, photo Identification or records from the embassy or consulate of the TPS country.
  • Evidence of Date of Entry: to prove the date you entered the United States, you will need to show an I-94 record and a copy of your passport with the U.S. admission stamp.
  • Evidence of Continuous Residence: to prove the date you began to continuously live in the United States, you will need  to show employment records, Rent and utility receipts, school records, medical records or attestations from a church or other organizations in which you are involved.

Step 4: Submit the Form with Evidence

After you have completed and signed the necessary forms and attached all relevant evidence and required documentation, you will need to include the filing fee or a request to waive the filing fee. To check for the fee and place to file, go to the www.uscis.gov website.

Step 5: Wait for Biometrics appointment

After proper filing, you’ll receive the notice to do the biometrics appointment. At the service center you’ll take photos and fingerprinting for the background check. It is important to follow instructions carefully to complete this step and to avoid delays.

Step 6: Adjudication of the TPS application

After the uscis reviews the application, you’ll be given an approval or denial or an RFE. If you have been denied TPS, it is important to get an immigration attorney involved to evaluate whether you should appeal the decision. If approved, an EAD will also be issued.

The above steps apply for initial filing and re-registration. It is essential to determine the designation re-designation and re-registration dates. Missing these dates can mean a missed opportunity for TPS as well.

Potential Problems during the TPS process

  • Ground of Inadmissibility

Any questionable issue in your past should be evaluated to determine if it amounts to a ground of inadmissibility. For example, such problematic issues include but are not limited topast immigration violation, accrued unlawful presence or criminal issues, an evaluation about whether a ground of inadmissibility applies is necessary. For example, in the case of criminal records that renders you inadmissibility, an I-601 Extreme Hardship would apply. This Extreme Hardship waiver is complex. It is best an attorney is involved in preparing it.

  • Late Re-Registration for TPS

If you have missed the re-registration period, there is a chance the USCIS will accept a late re-registration application if you have good cause for filing after the end of the re-registration period of your country. It is important to submit a letter that explains the reason for the late filing. The letter should be attached to the re-registration application.

  • Late Initial Filing for TPS

If you have not filed for TPS before, you can submit an initial filing during an extension of the country’s TPS designation period. If you qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must still meet all the TPS eligibility requirements.

To qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must meet at least one of the late initial filing conditions below:

  • During either the initial registration period of your country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if your country was re-designated you met one of the following conditions, and you register while the condition still exists or within a 60-day period immediately following the expiration or termination of such condition
    • You were a nonimmigrant, were granted voluntary departure status, or any relief from removal
    • You had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal which was pending or subject to further review or appeal
    • You were a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole
    • You are a spouse of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS

OR

  • If you were the child of a person who is eligible for TPS during either the initial registration period of the TPS or re-designation period. There is no time limitation on filing if you meet this condition. To be considered a child, you’ll have to be unmarried and under 21 years old)at any time during a TPS initial registration period for your country. This condition applies even if you are now over 21 years old or married.  You may file during an extension of your TPS designated country.

It is important to check your country-specific web page for the dates of the initial registration period or periods that apply for late initial filing.You cannot obtain TPS as a derivative because your parent or child has TPS. Therefore, you must independently apply for TPS.

NOTE: As always this is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney like myself for advice regarding your particular circumstances.

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