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REGISTRATION PROCESS OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR HAITI



Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, announced the extension and re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a foreign state designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as well as to eligible individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated state, regardless of birth country. TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the United States during the designation period, are not subject to removal, and are permitted to work as long as they meet the TPS requirements.


Background

  • Haiti was originally designated for TPS in 2010, in the wake of a major earthquake. Following the initial designation, TPS for Haiti was extended and re-designated from July 23, 2011 through January 22, 2013 and several times until January 2018, when the Trump Administration announced it would terminate the TPS program for Haitians in 2019.

  • In May of 2021, DHS announced plans to designate Haiti a new for TPS, for all those who have resided in the United States since May 21, 2021. In light of the increasing violence and unrest in Haiti, DHS has broadened the requirements, making eligible Haitians who have resided in the United States since July 29, 2021.

  • Secretary Mayorkas designated Haiti on the basis of extraordinary and temporary conditions effective August 3, 2021, through February 3, 2023.

  • On December 5, 2022, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the 18-month extension and re-designation of Haiti for TPS from February 4, 2023, to August 3, 2024.



Temporary Protected Status Notice for Haiti

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register on January 25, 2022, extending and re-designating Haiti's Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18 months (February 4, 2023 to August 3, 2024), it also includes information on how to register or re-register for the said program. Only individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since November 6, 2022 are eligible for TPS under Haiti's re-designation. Current TPS beneficiaries who wish to extend their status to August 3, 2024, must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period from January 26, 2023, through March 27, 2023 to ensure they maintain their TPS and employment authorization without a lapse.The extension of TPS for Haiti allows approximately 107,000 current beneficiaries to keep their status if they continue to meet the TPS eligibility requirements, as well as an additional 105,000 people in the United States may be eligible under the re-designation.


The state of Haiti's economy has been thoroughly examined by DHS. Haiti is currently dealing with crisis in its economy, security, politics, and health. The main source of violence and unrest in Haiti is caused by gang activity, which is on the rise as they take over more territory and exert more influence in the metropolitan Port-au-Prince area. At the same time, Haiti is dealing with a humanitarian crisis, with many residents having limited access to economic opportunity, food, water, safety, and healthcare. These circumstances continue to make return to Haiti dangerous for Haitian nationals living in the United States.


Required Application Forms and Fees to register or re-register for TPS

To apply for TPS based on Haiti's designation, you must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, and pay the filing fee. As part of determining eligibility, all applicants are subjected to security and background checks. Biometrics (fingerprinting) are typically required for applicants aged 14 and up, however, if you can demonstrate an inability to pay the biometric services fee, you may request to have the fee waived. Individuals with existing TPS granted under the 2021 designation of Haiti must file Form-821 for re-registration, and those who currently retain their TPS under the Ramos injunction, on the other hand, must do the same if they wish to ensure that their TPS continues when the Ramos court order end and remain eligible. Moreover, those with pending Haiti TPS application (Form I-821) as of January 26, 2022 do not need to re-apply. If the USCIS approves the Form I-821, an individual will be granted TPS until August 3, 2024.

If an individual intend to travel outside of the United States, TPS beneficiaries may apply for and be granted travel authorization as a matter of discretion. Travel authorization gives permission to leave the United States and return during a specific period.



Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

USCIS will issue a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with an August 3, 2024 expiration date to eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs which proves their legal right to work. Those who want to obtain an EAD must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and pay the Form I-765 fee or request a fee waiver, which you may submit on Form I-912 (Request for Fee Waiver). If the individual’s application is still pending or has already been approved, they may submit this form at the same time as their TPS application or at a later time. In addition, beneficiaries with a Haiti TPS-related Form I-765 application in connection with a Form I-821 that was still pending as of January 26, 2022 do not need to file the application again.


TPS program is not ending as it is a form of immigration relief created by federal law. The law allows the federal government to "designate" certain countries for TPS based upon country conditions. However, each country has a different expiration date for TPS. As a reminder, TPS is temporary, you must look into what your legal options might be and whether you may be eligible for other forms of immigration relief.




TPS has many eligibility requirements. So it is extremely important for Haitians who think they may be eligible to apply to consult a competent and experienced immigration attorney. Our skilled immigration lawyers can answer any questions about TPS and guide you through every step of the process. For more information on how we can assist you, please visit our website at www.elizeelawfirm.com or email us at intro@elizeelawfirm.com.

Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone 305-371-8846.


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