Earlier this year, The United States announced an 18-month Temporary Protected Status designation for Haiti. This opened the way for eligible individuals from Haiti to receive a special residency status in the U.S. Here are some of the most common questions we’ve been hearing about the recent designation.
What is a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation?
TPS is a temporary immigration status that is granted to foreign nationals by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The designation is made to countries that are experiencing an environmental disaster, ongoing armed conflict, and/or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Any country may be given a TPS designation if it’s are experiencing these special circumstances.
Countries eligible for TPS include Burma, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Why is Haiti Newly Designated for TPS?
Unfortunately, Haiti is facing an ongoing political crisis affecting thousands of Haitians. That is why the Department of Homeland Security has determined that it is best to extend a helping hand to Haitian nationals who are in need.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the new TPS designation for Haitian nationals and individuals who are not nationals but last resided in Haiti. According to DHS’s Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, “Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic”
What benefits are available under TPS?
In the designated period, TPS applicants who have been preliminarily eligible for TPS during their initial application review:
- Will not be subject to removability from the United States
- Will be eligible for an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May be granted travel authorization (restrictions may apply)
Note that for those who currently have EAD, it has been automatically extended until 12/31/2022
Once TPS has been granted:
- an individual may not be detained by the Department of Homeland Security (ICE) based on their immigration status in the U.S.
Although TPS is a temporary benefit that does not provide any other immigration status nor lead to permanent residency, you may still be able to apply for nonimmigrant status, file for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition, or apply for any immigration relief that you may be eligible for.
How do I know if I am eligible?
You may be eligible if:
- You are a national of Haiti or an individual who has last habitually resided in Haiti.
- You had continuous residence in the U.S. since July 29, 2021.
- You had a continuous physical presence in the U.S. since August 3, 2021.
It is important to understand that each case is unique based on the individual. For example, someone may not be eligible for TPS if their individual circumstances do not meet the eligibility requirements for this designation.
How do I Apply?
File your TPS application (Form I-821) during the designated registration period between August 3, 2021, through February 3, 2023 if you are applying for the designation announced on August 3, 2021.
- If you would like to apply for employment authorization simultaneously, you must file the I-765 (EAD) application with you I-821 application.
- You can also file your I-765 application after your file your I-821, however, you will not receive your employment authorization (assuming you are eligible) until several weeks or months after.
- Remember to include the appropriate filing and biometrics fees with your application. USCIS fees fluctuate and vary for initial and re-registration applications, therefore we have included the following link that you can reference for the most up-to-date fees that apply to your case. https://www.uscis.gov/i-821
What if I already have TPS?
If you already have TPS and would like to re-register for the most recent TPS designation for Haiti, you may file the I-821 application during the previously mentioned registration period. Please note if you are filing for re-registration, you are not required to pay the $50 I-821 application fee. You can also request a new EAD. Otherwise, the EAD you received previously will automatically be extended if your I-821 application is approved.
When will TPS end?
As far as we know, these considerations for TPS will remain in effect for 18 months, so if you want to apply, make sure you do so as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss out on this potential relief and remember that our office is simply a phone call away!
The content provided in this blog is made available by the Law Offices of Horrigan & Norman for information purposes. It contains general information and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or complete our intake form here.