EXTENSION OF LEGAL STATUS FOR HAITIANS!

On August 25, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (hereinafter “DHS”) announced the extension of Haiti’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (hereinafter “TPS”) for an additional 18 months. The extended designation is effective Jan. 23, 2016, through July 22, 2017.

As you may remember, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. The aftermath has not been easy and Haitians in the United States (and any other individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) are still unable to return safely to their country.

TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of Haiti (but, other countries have been also designated for TPS such as El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Nepal, Sudan). A country is generally designated for TPS when there are temporary negative conditions, such as an armed conflict or an environmental disaster, that prevent nationals of the country from returning safely or for the country to handle their return adequately. 

The most important immigration aspects of the TPS are that the beneficiaries of the TPS are allowed to remain in the United States and can legally work for a set time period (even if they were undocumented). Now, there are some cases law that would allow TPS beneficiaries to adjust status to that of Lawful Permanent Residents.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (hereinafter “USCIS”) is the agency of the DHS in charge for the processing of immigration applications for TPS filed by nationals of Haiti. 

What are the eligibility requirements for TPS?

(1) You must be a national of Haiti or someone with no nationality (e.g., a stateless person) who habitually resided in Haiti;

(2) You continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2010 (the date of the earthquake);

(3) You are continuously physically present in the United States since the date of the publication of the Federal Register Notice concerning TPS;

(4) meet certain immigrant admissibility requirements;

(5) not be ineligible from receiving TPS (such as having a conviction for two or more misdemeanors or for one felony or be subject to the bars to asylum);

(6) You must successfully complete all the application procedures and supporting documents with the USCIS (TPS application, Form I-821 and the Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765); and

(7) Pay all appropriate fees or fee waiver requests (there is no fee for Form I-821 when you are registering, $85 biometric fee and $380 fee must accompany Form I-765 for employment authorization.)

If you are a person with no nationality that last habitually resided in Haiti, you may be still eligible to be a TPS beneficiary. Please call me as soon as possible to discuss your case.  In essence, you must show that you are stateless (i.e., you do not have any nationality at all.)

Timeframe for the extension:

TPS Extension Re-Registration Deadline: October 26, 2015

TPS Expiration Date: July 22, 2017

Employment Authorization Cards (EADs) Auto-extended through: July 22, 2016

TPS Designation Date: January 21, 2010

You should keep in mind that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the TPS.  Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of a TPS petition.  Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases.  If you have any questions or concerns about a case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. We are also in Buffalo and coming soon to ROCHESTER!!! Please look for my next article in the October edition.

 

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