TPS Extended for Haitian Immigrants

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has been extended for Haitian refugees who re-register their status by May 2, 2014. The 18-month extension is effective July 23, 2014 through Jan. 22, 2016. Re-registration is a requirement to maintain legal status.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began granting TPS status to Haitian nationals four years ago when a 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook the nation, killing more than 220,000 and injuring more than 300,000. The disaster left more than 1.5 million homeless.

TPS status is used in cases where civil unrest exists in designated locations, or when natural disasters make returning home unsafe. DHS granted Haitians an 18-month TPS status beginning after the earthquake, and then extended the status in 2011 and then again in 2012.

Haitians who re-register as TPS beneficiaries can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD or “work permit”) extension. Current EADs expire on July 22, 2014. Due to an automatic six-month extension, however, these EADs are now valid until Jan. 22, 2015. Renewed EADs made with TPS re-registration are valid until Jan. 22, 2016.

TPS-registered Haitians are urged to submit their applications, Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, and Form I-765, Application for an Employment Authorization Document, as soon as possible to assure a smooth process. Applications where a fee waiver is requested, for example, might cause process delays if the waiver is denied. Although USCIS still works with these applicants, paperwork could become more complicated.

Social justice organization Oxfam International describes the situation in Haiti, which has been further complicated by cholera outbreaks and tropical storms, as an “immense humanitarian crisis, highlighting long-lasting development challenges.”