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18-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Somalia
Update

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Somalia from the current expiration of March 17, 2011, through the new expiration date of Sept. 17, 2012. During the past year, DHS and the Department of State have reviewed the conditions in Somalia. Based on this review, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has determined that an 18-month extension is necessary because conditions that prompted the 2001 TPS re-designation of Somalia continue, and the return of individuals with TPS to Somalia would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.

Under the extension, individuals who have been granted TPS are eligible to re-register and maintain their status for an additional 18 months. There are approximately 300 nationals of Somalia (and people having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) who may be eligible for re-registration. TPS does not apply to Somali nationals who first entered the United States after Sept. 4, 2001.

To maintain TPS status, Somali TPS beneficiaries must re-register during the re-registration period from Nov. 2, 2010, until Jan. 3, 2011. It is important to re-register as soon as the re-registration period opens to allow sufficient time for USCIS to complete all the routine background checks and application processing. USCIS will not accept applications from Somali TPS beneficiaries before Nov. 2, 2010.

USCIS will issue a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to eligible TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs.

TPS beneficiaries must submit an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) to re-register.  Applicants seeking an extension of employment authorization must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) with the required fee. If an individual does not want employment authorization, the applicant must still file Form I-765 for data-gathering purposes; the filing fee is not required. Re-registrants age 14 and older must submit the biometric fee. Applicants who are able to demonstrate an inability to pay may request a fee waiver for the application, biometric service fees or both. Failure to submit the required application and biometric fees or a properly documented fee waiver request will result in the rejection of the re-registration application. For information on fee waivers, visit the Fee Waiver Guidance Web page at www.uscis.gov.

Further details on the extension of TPS for Somalia, including the application requirements and procedures, are available at www.uscis.gov and in the Federal Register Notice. TPS forms are available online or by calling the toll-free USCIS Forms line, 800-870-3676.  For additional information, applicants may also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center toll-free number, 800-375-5283.
 

Last updated:11/01/2010

18-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Somalia
Questions and Answers

Introduction
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 additional months, through Sept. 17, 2012, to eligible nationals of Somalia and people having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia. This extension does not apply to Somalis who entered the United States after Sept. 4, 2001. Certain nationals of Somalia who have not previously applied for TPS may be able to register under the late initial registration provisions. Further details on this extension of TPS for Somalia appear in the Federal Register Notice announcing the most recent extension.

The extension comes following a review of the conditions in Somalia undertaken over the past year by DHS and the Department of State. Based on this review, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has determined that an 18-month extension is necessary because conditions that prompted the 2001 TPS re-designation of Somalia continue, and the return of individuals with TPS to Somalia would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.

Questions and Answers
Q1.   What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

A1.   TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in that specific country) designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). During the period for which the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) designates a country for TPS, TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the United States and may obtain work authorization, so long as they continue to meet the terms and conditions of TPS status. 

TPS does not lead to permanent resident status. When the Secretary of Homeland Security terminates a country’s TPS designation, beneficiaries return to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS (unless that status has since expired or been terminated) or to any other status they may have obtained while registered for TPS.

Q2.   When and why was Somalia last designated for TPS?

A2.   Somalia was designated for TPS in 2001 due to ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions within the country that would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of TPS-eligible individuals in the United States if they were to return to Somalia.

Q3.   Why was the TPS designation for Somalia extended through Sept. 17, 2012?

A3.   During the past year, DHS and the Department of State reviewed conditions in Somalia. Based on this review, the Secretary has determined that an 18-month extension is warranted because conditions in Somalia prompting the TPS designation continue to be met.

Q4.   Do I need to re-register for TPS if I currently have benefits through the designation of Somalia for TPS and would like to maintain them?

A4.   Yes. If you have already received TPS benefits through the TPS designation of Somalia, your benefits will expire on March 17, 2011. All TPS beneficiaries must comply with the re-registration requirements and submit any required biometric service fee and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) application fee (if an EAD is desired), or request a waiver of those fees, to maintain TPS benefits through Sept. 17, 2012. Failure to re-register in a timely manner without good cause will result in the withdrawal of TPS, and you may be subject to removal from the United States.

Q5.   Who is eligible to re-register for TPS for Somalia?

A5.   The extension covers an estimated 300 individuals who currently have TPS. To qualify, you must:

  1. Be a national of Somalia, or an individual without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States since Sept. 4, 2001;
  3. Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since Sept. 4, 2001;
  4. Satisfactorily complete routine background checks required of all applicants; and
  5. Meet certain other admissibility and eligibility criteria as specified by section 244(c) of the INA, 8 USC 1254a(c), and the regulations at 8 CFR 244.1-244.9.

Q6.   What is the re-registration period for TPS for Somalia?

A6.   The 60-day re-registration period will start on Nov. 2, 2010, and end on Jan. 3, 2011. You must re-register for TPS during the 60-day re-registration period. Failure to re-register in a timely manner during the re-registration period without good cause will result in a loss of TPS benefits. USCIS strongly encourages you to file your applications as early as possible within the re-registration period so that background and security checks and other processing requirements can be completed promptly.

Q7.   How do I re-register for the TPS extension?

A7.   Somalis currently registered under TPS who desire an extension must re-register by filing both an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821), and an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), with the appropriate fees or fee waiver requests.

These forms are available on the forms section of the USCIS Website at www.uscis.gov/forms or by calling the toll-free USCIS Forms Hotline, (800) 870-3676.

To submit your application, please send it to:

Via U.S. mail: 
USCIS
Attn: TPS Somalia
P.O. Box 8677
Chicago, IL 60680-8677

For courier deliveries, please mail your application to:

USCIS
Attn: TPS Somalia
131 S. Dearborn, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

If you were granted TPS by an IJ or BIA and you are requesting an EAD or are re-registering for the first time, please mail forms to:
USCIS
Attn: TPS Somalia
P.O. Box 7332
Chicago, IL 60680-7332

Electronically (e-file):
www.uscis.gov or click here

Q8.   What is the cost of applying to re-register for TPS? 

A8.   There is no fee required to submit Form I-821if you are re-registering. A biometric services fee of $80 is required if you are 14 years of age or older. You must include the fee of $340 for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization if you want an EAD. If you are not seeking employment authorization, you must still submit Form I-765 without fee. Late initial filers must pay the $50 Form I-821 application fee.

Please note that USCIS recently announced that it has adjusted fees for immigration applications and petitions effective Nov. 23, 2010. For additional information, please click here.

Q9.   What if I cannot afford to pay the application and/or biometric fees?

A9.   You may request a waiver of the TPS-related application fee and/or the biometrics fee by submitting a fee waiver request with proper documentation of inability to pay. You must specify exactly which of the fees (e.g., I-821 application fee, if late initial filer; I-765 application fee; and/or the biometrics services fee) that you wish to be waived. Fee waiver requests must be satisfactorily documented with evidence of your inability to pay.

If you file your re-registration application with a fee waiver request before Nov. 23, please click here to review the TPS Questions and Answers.

If you file your re-registration application with a fee waiver request after Nov. 23, please click here for more information.

Q10.   Can I re-register electronically via the Internet?

A10.   If you are re-registering for TPS during the re-registration period and do not need to submit additional documentation and are not requesting a fee waiver, you may electronically file your application. Please visit www.uscis.gov/tps to determine if you need to submit supporting documentation with your application package. If you need to submit supporting documentation, you are not eligible to file electronically.

For information about filing electronically, visit the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov/e-filing. Please review the links on that Web page, including the USCIS E-Filing Reference Guide.

Q11.   What if the IJ or BIA granted me TPS?

A11.   If an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) granted you TPS, you must provide proof of the TPS grant (such as a final order from the IJ or final decision from the BIA) when you apply for your first TPS benefit (such as an EAD or travel authorization). You should also submit a copy of the I-821 TPS application that the IJ or the BIA approved. See Question 7 for mailing instructions on how to apply for the TPS extension. Visit www.uscis.gov/tps for detailed filing requirements if you are requesting the first TPS benefit after an IJ or BIA granted you TPS.

Q12.   Can a Somali who was in the United States as of Sept. 4, 2001, but did not register for TPS during the re-designation of Somalia in 2001, register for TPS?
A12.   Yes, late initial registration is available if you:

  • Are a national of Somalia, or an alien without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since Sept. 4, 2001;
  • Have been continuously physically present in the United States since Sept. 4, 2001;
  • Satisfactorily complete the routine background checks required of all applicants; and
  • Meet certain other admissibility and eligibility criteria as specified by section 244(c) of the INA, 8 USC 1254a(c), and the regulations at 8 CFR 244.1-244.9.

Additionally, if you register late, you must also demonstrate that at the time of the initial TPS designation for Somalia in 2001, you:

  • Were in a valid nonimmigrant status, or had been granted voluntary departure, or any relief from removal;
  • Had a pending application for:
    • Change of status,
    • Adjustment of status,
    • Asylum,
    • Voluntary departure or
    • Any relief from removal pending or subject to further review or appeal;
    • Were a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole; or
  • You were the spouse or child of an alien currently eligible to be a TPS registrant. See 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2).

If you are an applicant for late initial registration, you must register while the qualifying condition described above is still current and still exits OR no later than 60 days after the expiration or termination of the qualifying condition. If you are a spouse of an eligible TPS beneficiary, then you must register while you are still married or no later than 60 days after a final divorce from or death of the eligible TPS beneficiary. If you are a child of an eligible TPS beneficiary, than you must register while you are still considered a child or no later than 60 days after you are no longer considered a child. You are no longer considered a child as soon as you marry or as soon as you turn 21 (whichever comes first).

Q13.   Do I have to report to an Application Support Center (ASC) to submit biometrics?

A13.   To increase efficiency and improve customer service, whenever possible, USCIS will reuse previously-captured biometrics and will conduct necessary security checks using those biometrics. Due to systems limitations, it may not be possible in every case to reuse biometrics. USCIS will mail you a notice with instructions if you are required to appear at an ASC for biometrics collection.

Even if you do not need to attend an ASC appointment, you are required to pay the separate biometric services fee or submit an appropriately supported fee waiver request if you are age 14 or older. This fee will cover the USCIS costs associated with use and maintenance of collected biometrics (such as fingerprints) for background checks, identity verification and document production.

Q14.   What if I am scheduled for an appointment at the ASC but am unable to make my appointment?

A14.   Failure to appear for an ASC appointment will result in denial of your case due to abandonment unless you submit an address change notification or a rescheduling request prior to your appointment. USCIS must conclude that your request for rescheduling is valid.

Q15.   How do I reschedule my ASC appointment for biometrics?

A15.   To request rescheduling of an ASC appointment, please make a copy of your appointment notice to retain for your records, then mail the original notice with your rescheduling request to the ASC address listed on the notice. A new appointment notice will be sent to you by U.S. mail. Please note that rescheduling a biometrics appointment may result in a delay before your case is decided.

Q16.   What documents should I bring to my ASC appointment?

A16.   When you report to an ASC, you must bring the following documents:

  • Identity documentation with a photograph,
  • Your receipt notice for your re-registration application,
  • Your ASC appointment notice, and
  • Your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Q17.   What if my address changes after I file my application?\

A17.   If your address changes after you file your application, you must complete and submit Form AR-11, Change of Address, by mail or electronically. The mailing address is:

 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
 Change of Address
 P.O. Box 7134
 London, KY 40742-7134

You can also file Form AR-11 electronically by following the directions on the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov. To facilitate processing your address change, you may call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) to request that your address be updated on your application. Please note that calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center does not relieve you of your burden to properly file a Form AR-11 with USCIS.

Q18.   Will my current EAD that is set to expire on March 17, 2011, be automatically extended for six months?

A18.   No. Your current EAD will not be extended automatically. DHS has announced the extension of the TPS designation of Somalia and established the re-registration period at an early date to allow sufficient time for USCIS to process EAD requests prior to the March 17, 2011, expiration date.

Q19.   Will Somali nationals protected by TPS be permitted to travel to their home countries during the TPS extension?

A19.   As a matter of discretion, USCIS may grant you permission to travel abroad. You must apply for and obtain advance parole prior to travel outside the United States in order to prevent losing TPS status and to facilitate your re-entry to the United States.

Q20.   How do I apply for advance parole?
A20.   You must file Application for Travel Document, Form I-131, with the appropriate fee. The fee cannot be waived. Please follow the filing instructions for Form I-131.

Please note that USCIS recently announced that it has adjusted fees for immigration applications and petitions effective Nov. 23, 2010. For additional information, please click here.

TRAVEL WARNING: If you have been unlawfully present in the United States and then you leave the country, even with an approved advance parole document, you may be barred from entering the United States for three (3) or ten (10) years, depending on how much unlawful presence you had before you left. In addition, you may become ineligible for certain other benefits in the future that you may seek, such as permanent resident status. If adjudication of your TPS application has not been completed, you may also risk missing important USCIS notices, such as Requests for Additional Evidence, and your application may be denied while you are out of the country. We encourage you to read and understand the travel warning on Form I-131 before you ask for advance parole, regardless of whether you have been granted TPS. Before requesting advance parole for travel, you may also want to seek legal advice if you have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for any period of time.

Q21.   Is TPS a basis for obtaining permanent resident status?

A21.   No. TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status by itself or confer any other immigration status.

Q22.   May I apply for another immigration benefit while registered for TPS?

A22.   Yes. Registration for TPS does not prevent you from applying for nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition, or any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible. For the purposes of change of status and adjustment of status, an alien is considered to be in, and maintaining, lawful status as a nonimmigrant during the period in which the alien is granted TPS. However, if an alien has periods of time when he or she had no lawful immigration status before, or after, the alien’s time in TPS, those period(s) of unlawful presence may negatively affect the alien’s ability to adjust to permanent resident status or attain other immigration benefits, depending on the circumstances of the specific case. In some cases, the alien may be eligible for a waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility, or certain other grounds, when applying to adjust to permanent resident status or for another immigration status.

Q23.   How do I ask for further questions or learn more about TPS?

A23.   Please contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at:

800-375-5283 or
800-767-1833 (TTY)

You may also view the USCIS TPS Web page at www.uscis.gov/tps. To learn more about USCIS’s programs, visit www.uscis.gov.
 

Last updated:11/02/2010


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