Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has recently announced that DHS will be extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian nationals who were in the United States in January 2011. TPS status is typically granted to the designated nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Somalia and Haiti, who are currently in the U.S., and unable to return to their country, due to poor or dangerous country conditions. In this case, the devastating earthquake in Haiti is the current reason for their TPS.
The extension for Haitian nationals is effective July 23, 2014 through January 22, 2016 giving them an additional 18 months to reside in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), urges current Haitian participants to re-register between March 3, 2014 and May 2, 2014. When re-registering, Haitians who are part of TPS are also able to re-apply for their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Those who qualify will receive their EAD with an expiration date of January 22, 2016. For those who still have their unexpired EAD, USCIS will extend the current expiration date of July 22, 2014 to January 22, 2015. TPS does not grant permanent residency or any other immigration status. However, participants may apply for another immigration status.
There is no cost for registrants to re-apply for their TPS through the I-821 form, however without a approved fee waiver request, there is still a biometrics service fee if they are older than 14 years of age. Those who will apply for a renewal of their EAD will need to submit the I-765 form, along with it’s fee or fee-waiver request.
Haitian nationals who have been convicted of a felony, or up to two misdemeanors may not qualify. Other disqualifications include, failure to meet initial TPS registration requirements, failure to re-register without a good reason, failure to meet physical presence in the U.S., failure to meet residency requirements, as well as those who have mandatory bars to asylum, or those found inadmissible under INA section 212 (a).