On May 17th, 2011 DHS announced that Haitians affected by last year’s devastating earthquake would receive an extension of their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional eighteen months. This will apply to Haitians who are currently residing in the United States. In addition, DHS has announced that Haitians who arrived up to one year after the earthquake, many of whom came in on visitor visas and other authorized measures, could also now apply for TPS status.
As an Austin immigration lawyer, I am pleased with DHS’s decision to both extend the timing of TPS and to broaden the scope of the individuals who can qualify for it. Although DHS almost immediately designated TPS status for those Haitians who were residing in the U.S. those that came within days or weeks of the disaster were ineligible for TPS and also unable to return home.
To register for TPS, you must file an Application for Temporary Protected Status. You may also request employment authorization at the same time. If you are granted TPS and your country is extended beyond the initial period, you must often re-register for TPS. People in TPS status can also travel abroad with permission, but an application must be submitted and approved first.
Although TPS does not lead to permanent resident status or citizenship itself, you may also become eligible for a green card if certain conditions are met (for example, you may be eligible if an immediate relative petition is now available to you, provided you meet the admissibility requirements). This means that if you do not obtain any other lawful status during your TPS period, once your TPS period ends you would loose your immigrant status.
There are strict deadlines for applying and extending TPS status. Those deadlines are important for you to be able to obtain and remain in TPS status.
If you or someone you know is in need of an immigration attorney for a TPS matter, call us for a consultation at (512) 329-2770. We have experience with TPS registration cases as well as adjustment of status (green card) cases for those in TPS status.