Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

DHS Extends and Redesignates TPS for South Sudan

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on January 25, 2016, that it is extending the designation of South Sudan for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months, from May 3, 2016, through November 2, 2017, and redesignating South Sudan for TPS for 18 months, effective May 3, 2016, through November 2, 2017.

DHS said it determined that an extension of the current designation and a redesignation of South Sudan for TPS are warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the 2014 TPS redesignation have persisted, and in some cases deteriorated, and would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of South Sudanese nationals if they were required to return to their country. Although the parties to the conflict signed a peace agreement in August 2015, violence persists in many parts of the country, and the implementation of the peace agreement is halting to date, DHS noted.

The notice, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), states that the extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through November 2, 2017, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. The redesignation of South Sudan allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since January 25, 2016, to obtain TPS if otherwise eligible.

DHS also set forth procedures necessary for eligible nationals of South Sudan (or individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) either to: (1) re-register under the extension if they already have TPS and to apply for renewal of their employment authorization documents (EADs) with USCIS; or (2) submit an initial registration application under the redesignation and apply for an EAD.

For individuals who have already been granted TPS, the 60-day re-registration period runs from January 25, 2016, through March 25, 2016. USCIS will issue new EADs with a November 2, 2017, expiration date to eligible South Sudan TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension. Given the time frames involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS said it recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on May 2, 2016. Accordingly, DHS is automatically extending the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of South Sudan for 6 months, through November 2, 2016. The notice explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended and their impact on the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify processes.

Under the redesignation, individuals who currently do not have TPS (or an initial TPS application pending) may submit an initial application during the 180-day initial registration period that runs from January 25, 2016, through July 25, 2016. In addition to demonstrating continuous residence in the United States since January 25, 2016, and meeting other eligibility criteria, initial applicants for TPS under the redesignation must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States since May 3, 2016, the effective date of the redesignation of South Sudan.

Initial TPS applications that were filed under South Sudan’s 2011 designation or the 2013 or 2014 redesignations and remained pending on January 25, 2016, will be treated as initial applications under this redesignation. Individuals who have a pending initial South Sudan TPS application do not need to file a new Application for TPS (Form I-821). DHS provided additional instructions in the notice for individuals whose TPS applications remain pending and who would like to obtain an EAD valid through November 2, 2017.

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.