Haiti was recently designated for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for 18 months. Additionally, new details were announced and registration opened for Burma’s 18-month TPS designation, which was granted in March 2021. Below is a look at what the TPS designations for Haiti and Burma mean for nationals from those countries who now reside in the United States.
What Is TPS?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) may designate a foreign country for TPS if conditions in that country temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely or if the country is unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals. Specific situations may include armed conflict, environmental disasters, epidemics, or other conditions of an extraordinary, temporary nature. TPS applications can be filed by eligible individuals who are already in the United States and who are nationals of TPS-designated countries (or parts of those countries) or are without a nationality and last resided in a TPS-designated country. Individuals eligible for TPS may apply for work authorization documentation, and travel authorization may be provided to TPS beneficiaries on a discretionary basis. However, TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. If you would like to remain in the United States on a permanent basis, you should consult an experienced immigration attorney to discuss whether you may qualify for another type of immigration status.
TPS for Haiti
The new TPS designation will enable Haitian nationals (along with individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021, to file initial applications for TPS, as long as they meet all eligibility requirements. Haiti’s TPS status will last for 18 months; the exact start and end date, as well as other details and application instructions, will be announced shortly, when DHS publishes an official Federal Register notice (“FRN”).
Haiti was designated for TPS based on temporary and extraordinary conditions that include a political crisis, human rights abuses, serious security concerns, and a dire economic situation and lack of access to food, water, and health care that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the lingering effects of the 2010 earthquake.
TPS for Burma
Burma’s TPS designation applies to eligible Burmese nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Burma) who have continuously resided in the United States since March 11, 2021 and have been continuously present in the United States since May 25, 2021. TPS for Burma is effective May 25, 2021 through November 25, 2022, according to DHS’s recently released FRN, which noted the designation will impact about 1,600 individuals.
Burma received TPS designation because of the worsening humanitarian crisis resulting from the military coup there and ensuing violence by security forces against civilians.
To be granted TPS, eligible individuals must apply during the open initial registration period. For Burmese nationals, applications must be filed during the 180-day registration period that began May 25, 2021 and extends through November 22, 2021. The registration period for Haiti will be announced upon publication of the FRN. In some cases, late registration may be accepted for applicants who have a good reason for filing late. Eligible individuals must have been continuously present in the United States since the effective date of their country’s most recent TPS designation date and must have been residing in the United States since the date specified for their country. Individuals found inadmissible due to non-waivable criminal or security-related grounds are not eligible for TPS.
To register for TPS, you must file Form I-821, Application for Protected Temporary Status. You can request an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) by submitting Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization. Form I-765 can either be filed with Form I-821 or afterward, but sending them at the same time will likely speed up delivery of your EAD. If you are aware that a relevant ground of inadmissibility applies to you and you need a waiver, include Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility with your TPS application.
After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) receives your forms along with supporting documents and fees, the agency will review the application for completeness and issue a receipt number, which you can use to check the status of your case online. Most TPS applicants will be contacted to come into an Application Support Center (“ASC”) to submit biometrics which include a photo, signature and/or fingerprints.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for other immigration options beyond TPS. An experienced immigration attorney can advise you on what options are available based on your circumstances and provide guidance on the best course of action.
Barst Mukamal & Kleiner’s immigration lawyers provide comprehensive immigration law services. We encourage individuals with questions regarding TPS applications or appeals to contact a BMK attorney. For general inquiries or to set up a consultation, please visit https://bmkllp.com/contact-us/.