DHS Terminates TPS Designation for Sudan; Extends TPS Designation for South Sudan
On September 18, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will terminate its Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Sudan effective November 2, 2018. As a result, current TPS beneficiaries from Sudan will lose this discretionary form of immigration status that would otherwise allow them to lawfully remain in the country. Sudan was first designated eligible for TPS in 1997.
DHS also announced that it would extend TPS for eligible nationals of South Sudan until May 2, 2019, due to the ongoing armed conflict in that region. Therefore, eligible TPS beneficiaries from South Sudan who re-register may remain in the United States beyond the current expiration date of November 2, 2017. South Sudan was first designated eligible for TPS in 2011.
TPS beneficiaries from Sudan
Sudanese nationals who already have TPS may only extend their TPS and employment authorization document (EAD) to November 2, 2018. DHS will announce the registration deadlines in the next few weeks. Eligible applicants should check the DHS webpage for TPS Sudan for updates on the registration period.
Current TPS beneficiaries from Sudan are strongly encouraged to explore their immigration options and learn if they are eligible for lawful status independent of TPS, well in advance of November 2, 2018.
After November 2, 2018, Sudanese nationals currently holding TPS will be considered unlawfully present in the U.S. unless they qualify for lawful status under a different immigration category.
TPS beneficiaries from South Sudan
South Sudan TPS beneficiaries must re-register to extend their TPS and employment authorization to May 2, 2019. The window to re-register and extend TPS benefits for South Sudan nationals has already started on September 21, 2017, and is only open for 60 days, until November 20, 2017. Filing early is advisable so as to avoid delays as the deadline approaches. Eligible applicants may check the DHS webpage for TPS South Sudan for additional updates.
Can a TPS beneficiary continue to work while the TPS/EAD renewal application is pending?
As of February 2017, DHS has instituted an automatic 180-day EAD extension for TPS beneficiaries who file a timely application to re-register TPS and renew the EAD. Therefore, unless otherwise indicated by DHS for a particular country, TPS re-registrants may continue to work while those applications are pending, for up to 180 days from the day of their current EAD expiration.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status is a designation that the Secretary of Homeland Security may assign to a specific country, or certain parts of a country, when conditions prevent its nationals from returning safely to their home country. For example, the DHS Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to ongoing conflict such as a civil war, a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, or other temporary emergencies.
Who can get TPS?
In order to qualify for TPS, you must:
- Be a national of a country currently designated as a TPS country;
- File for TPS during the proper registration window for your country;
- Have been physically present in the United States since the relevant date specified by DHS for your country; and
- Have been continuously residing in the U.S. since the date specified by DHS for your country.
To date, the following are TPS-designated countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services maintains a table with the relevant registration deadlines for each respective country at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.
Those not eligible to receive TPS benefits include individuals convicted of certain non-waivable crimes, individuals found inadmissible, and individuals who fail to register or re-register by the DHS-mandated deadlines, subject to exceptions.
What protections does TPS provide?
Individuals who qualify for TPS can receive authorization to work in the U.S., are not removable from the United States, and may be granted travel authorization. Moreover, a TPS beneficiary cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the U.S. These protections only apply during the time period designated by the DHS Secretary.
TPS does not, on its own, provide a path to lawful permanent resident status, nor does it give any other immigration status. However, a TPS beneficiary may still apply for another immigration benefit, or seek to adjust status based on an immigrant petition, assuming he or she can prove independent grounds for eligibility.
We will continue to monitor the registration deadlines for nationals of Sudan and South Sudan, as well as which countries are designated for TPS. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding TPS or any other immigration benefits, do not hesitate to contact Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at (608) 252-9291 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Kai Hovden at (608) 252-9391 or email@example.com, or your DeWitt attorney.