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DHS will continue Temporary Protected Status Designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan

On September 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced there will be an automatic extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Notably, the automatic extension of TPS-related documentation includes Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), which will be valid through Dec. 31, 2022.  

TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or to individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevents its nationals from returning safely, or if the country is unable to adequately handle their return. 

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war);
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane); 
  • An epidemic; or
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

If approved, TPS beneficiaries are not removable from the U.S., they can obtain employment authorization, and they may be granted travel authorization. TPS beneficiaries also cannot be detained by DHS due to their immigration status in the U.S. 

To retain their status under the automatic extension, TPS beneficiaries must continue to meet all the individual requirements for TPS eligibility. Current beneficiaries under the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan also do not need to pay a fee or file any application to maintain their TPS; their TPS-related documentation will be automatically extended through Dec. 31, 2022.

Beneficiaries who wish to receive a new EAD that displays Dec. 31, 2022, as the expiration date are required to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For further guidance, USCIS announced that a Federal Register notice explaining how TPS beneficiaries, their employers, and benefit-granting agencies may determine which EADs are automatically extended for those beneficiaries, will be published soon. 

Eligible individuals under the Haiti designation whose TPS is presently continued by court orders and DHS’s extension are strongly encouraged to apply for Haiti TPS under the new designation, recently announced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on July 30, 2021. This will ensure their TPS continues if the relevant courts end their injunctions. It is important that beneficiaries eligible for the new designation apply for the new Haiti TPS designation during the initial registration period because they may otherwise be prohibited from filing a late initial registration during a subsequent extension of the designation if they do not meet certain conditions.

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