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Haitian Nationals Now Eligible for New TPS Designation

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Haitian Nationals Now Eligible for New TPS Designation

Congress identified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in 1990 to establish a uniform system for giving temporary protection to individuals unable to return to their home countries because of an environmental or political catastrophe. Previously, the executive branch handled this situation by designating certain countries for Extended Voluntary Departure (EVD). This administrative status turned into an exercise of prosecutorial discretion by the Attorney General (AG) to avoid pursuing nationals of certain countries for removal if it were determined that they were living in the U.S. without authorization.

On August 3, 2021, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new 18-month designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The new TPS designation permits Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) who have continuously resided in the U. S. since July 29, 2021, to file applications for TPS, as they meet other eligibility requirements.

Benefits of TPS

During the designated period, which is through February 3, 2023, those granted TPS are:

  • Unable to be removed or detained by DHS due to their immigration status
  • Eligible for an employment authorization document (EAD)
  • Eligible to receive travel authorization

However, TPS doesn’t provide permanent residency, citizenship, or any right to ongoing immigration status. Once the government ends another country’s TPS designation, TPS holders return to their prior immigration status.

Why did Haiti Receive a New TPS Designation?

DHS determined that an 18-month TPS designation is necessary due to “extraordinary and temporary conditions” in Haiti, including:

  • A political crisis
  • Violence
  • Human rights abuses
  • Public health threats (including the COVID-19 pandemic)

DHS estimates that about 155,000 people are eligible to apply for TPS under this newly issued designation.

Haitian TPS Eligibility

Interested individuals are required to meet the following criteria to be eligible for Haitian TPS: 

  • Be a Haitian national or someone without nationality who last lived in Haiti
  • Have filed a TPS application during the open initial registration or re-registration window (or adhere to the instructions for late initial filing during any extension of the TPS designation)
  • Have ongoing physical presence (“CPP”) in the country since August 3, 2021
  • Have been continuously residing (“CR”) in the U. S. since July 29, 2021

It’s crucial to note that immigration laws provide an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for casual, brief, and innocent departures from the U.S. When you apply or re-register for TPS, you are required to inform U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of every absence you’ve had from the U.S. They will determine if the exception applies in your case. It should also be noted that some specific criminal records or security-related conditions can disqualify applicants.

How to Apply for TPS

Those eligible for TPS under Haiti’s new designation must file an application for TPS with USCIS within the registration window that started  August 3, 2021, and ends on February 3, 2023. Applicants must sign the application and pay the $50 required fee or submit a fee waiver request.

Questions about Haitian TPS Status? Contact a Reputable Chicago Immigration Lawyer Today

The possibility of TPS status is a welcome relief for many Haitians. If you want to pursue this status or have questions about your eligibility, the best thing you can do is to schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled Chicago immigration attorney. When you reach out to Kriezelman Burton & Associates, a reputable Chicago immigration lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible to apply for TPS status and assist you with your application. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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