U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended temporary protected status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Haiti for an additional 18 months, effective July 23, 2014, through January 22, 2016. Also, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended employment authorization for certain Haitian F-1 students due to ongoing hardship related to the earthquake of 2010. Highlights of these two developments follow.
Haitian TPS. Current Haitian beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that began on March 3, 2014, and runs through May 2, 2014. USCIS encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible. The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD). Eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of January 22, 2016. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Haiti EADs bearing a July 22, 2014, expiration date for an additional 6 months. These existing EADs are now valid through January 22, 2015.
To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Re-registrants do not need to pay the I-821 application fee, but they must submit the biometric services fee, or a fee waiver request, if they are age 14 or older. All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. TPS re-registrants requesting an EAD must submit the I-765 application fee, or a fee waiver request. If the re-registrant does not want an EAD, no application fee is required. Applicants may ask that USCIS waive the I-765 application fee or biometrics fee based on an inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee waiver request will result in rejection of the TPS application, USCIS said.
Extension of work authorization for Haitian F-1 students. ICE announced on March 3, 2014, that it would extend the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Haitian students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti. This relief applies only to students whose country of citizenship is Haiti and who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on January 12, 2010, and enrolled in an institution certified by ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The current extension will enable eligible F-1 students to continue to obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the school term, and, if necessary, reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status. The suspension of the regulatory requirements will remain in effect through January 22, 2016.
ICE noted that the ongoing devastation and unstable conditions caused by the earthquake in Haiti increased the financial burden on many of these students, who previously relied on assistance from the Haitian government or family members in Haiti to meet basic living expenses. "While the government of Haiti has made progress in improving security and quality of life of its citizens following the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti continues to lack the adequate infrastructure, employment and educational opportunities, and basic services," ICE said. As of February 3, there were 820 active F-1 Haitian students enrolled in SEVP-certified schools in the United States.
Additional information on TPS for Haiti, including guidance on eligibility, the application process, and where to file, is available online at http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/temporary-protected-status. Further details on this extension of Haiti for TPS, including application requirements and procedures, are available in the Federal Register notice .