Changes have recently been made to extend the TPS deadline for Haiti. This has important implications for Haitian nationals in the United States.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a special status of protection that may be granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. It protects people currently living in the United States who are citizens of countries to which they cannot safely return, due to dangerous conditions or situations in that country.

There are a number of things that can cause the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to designate a country for TPS. These causes must be both extraordinary and ultimately temporary. They include:

  • An environmental or natural disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane)
  • An epidemic or severe disease outbreak
  • A severe drought or famine
  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war)
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

If a country is designated by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, TPS status can be granted to any individual who:

  • Is a national of the designated country
  • Has filed for TPS status during a specified registration period
  • Has been continuously physically present in the United States since a specified date.

There are currently over 400,000 TPS holders in the United States, all of whom are either from Haiti, Burma, Nepal, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicarauga, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, or South Sudan.

What Does Having TPS Mean for TPS Holders?

People with TPS (or “TPS holders”) have a number of legal protections and rights in the United States for a designated period of time, ostensibly until the resolution of whatever caused their home country to be designated by the DHS Secretary. Among other things, TPS holders:

  • Cannot be removed from the US or detained by DHS or ICE on the basis of their immigration status
  • Are eligible for travel authorization, with safe return to the United States
  • Are eligible for employment authorization and an Employment Authorization and Travel Document (EAD/EATD)

What is the TPS Extension for Haiti?

On May 21st, 2021, Alejandro N. Mayorkas (the current Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) announced a new 18-month TPS designation of Haiti. Haiti was granted TPS status because of current security concerns, social unrest, poverty, human rights abuses, and lack of basic resources, which have been made worse by COVID-19. This makes Haitian nationals (and people without nationality who last resided in Haiti) who are currently in the United States to register for TPS status.

What Do I Need to Know About the TPS Extension for Haiti?

There are four points that are essential to know about Haiti’s TPS extension.

  • You must reside in the US to qualify. In order to qualify for TPS status, you must have been living in the United States on May 21st, 2021, and been physically present in the United States since then.
  • If you apply, you will be eligible for TPS benefits. If you apply for TPS status, you will be eligible for both protections from removal for 18 months, and an Employment Authorization and Travel Document.
  • The TPS extension also applies for those with preexisting TPS from Haiti. In addition to covering new Haitian nationals in the United States, the TPS extension also extends the time frame on those who are standing TPS holders.
  • Applying for TPS now may make you eligible for other benefits later. There are certain benefits that you may only be able to access in the future if you apply for TPS now. This makes it even more essential that you apply for TPS during the allotted time frame.
  • There is a specific period during which you can apply. Registration for the TPS extension runs from May 24th 2021 to November 22nd. If you miss that deadline, you may still be eligible if you file an I-821 form and show “good cause” for missing the deadline. However, it is definitely in your best interest to make the deadline if it is possible to do so.

Do you need help with the TPS application, or with any immigration issue in Coral Gables, Florida? We’re here to help. Reach out to Attorney Magdalena Cuprys and the Serving Immigrants Law Firm at (305) 907-6151 for a free consultation.

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