18-Month Extension and Re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected StatusFact Sheet
Filing Instructions for Haitian Nationals Requesting TPS
Released May 19, 2011
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has announced the re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the country’s current TPS designation for 18 months—through Jan. 22, 2013.
Secretary Napolitano first announced that she was designating Haiti for TPS on Jan. 15, 2010, after major earthquakes devastated the country. The designation was effective on Jan. 21, 2010. Following consultations with other federal agencies, Secretary Napolitano has determined that current conditions in Haiti support extending the designation period for current TPS beneficiaries and re-designating Haiti for TPS. The re-designation re-establishes the date by which applicants must prove that they have continuously resided in the United States. Applicants must have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011.
The TPS re-designation of Haiti allows eligible Haitians (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) who do not currently have TPS, or have a pending TPS application, and who have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, to start applying immediately. Applicants can file for TPS during a 180-day registration period that begins today and ends Nov. 15, 2011. The extension will also allow Haitians who currently have TPS to re-register from May 23, 2011, until Aug. 22, 2011, following publication of the second Federal Register notice on May 23, 2011, outlining re-registration procedures. Haitians who already have TPS must not file before May 23, 2011, for re-registration or their applications will be rejected.
Individuals who attempt to enter the United States illegally now will not be granted TPS and will be repatriated consistent with U.S. policy.
Applicants for TPS under the Haiti designation may refer to the following information as general instructions on how to file the TPS application. USCIS strongly encourages Haitian nationals to review the Federal Register notices published today on how to file an initial application for TPS, and later on May 23, 2011, on how to re-register for TPS.
TPS is an immigration status granted under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS (or to persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country). During the TPS designation period, TPS beneficiaries may remain in the United States and obtain work authorization documentation, so long as they continue to meet the terms and conditions of their TPS status. TPS beneficiaries may also be granted travel authorization, as a matter of discretion.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:
In addition, an application for TPS does not affect an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit and vice versa. Denial of an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit does not affect your ability to register for TPS, although the grounds of denial of that application may also lead to denial of TPS.
General Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for TPS under the Haiti re-designation, you must:
Individuals may NOT be eligible for TPS if they:
The Application Process for TPS
Once you file your initial application, your case will go through several processing steps. It is important to understand what these steps are so you can monitor the progress along the way and know when and how to ask for help.
1. Intake: When you file your TPS application with the USCIS Lockbox facility, the Lockbox facility will review your application for completeness and for the proper fees or a properly documented fee waiver request. If your case meets the basic acceptance criteria, your application will be received into our system, and you will receive a receipt notice. If you do not receive your receipt notice within three weeks of filing, you can call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283 to request assistance. If your application is rejected at the initial Lockbox stage, you may re-file within the registration period after correcting the problems described in the USCIS notification.
If there is an emergency need for you to travel abroad for humanitarian reasons, you may request expedited processing on your advance parole application (Form I-131) after intake and after you have appeared at an Application Support Center (ASC) for your biometrics appointment. Please note the travel warnings further below.
2. ASC Scheduling Appointment and Biometrics Collection: After your initial application has been accepted, you may be scheduled for an appointment at an ASC for your biometrics to be collected as stated on your receipt notice. Every TPS applicant age 14 and older must have ten-print fingerprints taken. All initial applicants who wish to have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) must go to the ASC to have a photograph, signature and a press print collected, unless USCIS determines, in its discretion, that the press print or signature can be waived. Biometrics are required for identity verification, background checks and the production of an EAD, if one has been requested.
If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, you may reschedule. To reschedule an ASC appointment, 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. You should submit your request for rescheduling as soon as you know you have an unavoidable conflict on your scheduled ASC date. A new appointment notice will be sent to you by mail. Please note that rescheduling a biometrics appointment may cause the adjudication of your applications to be delayed.
If you fail to appear for your ASC appointment without rescheduling, or if you repeatedly miss scheduled ASC appointments, your TPS application could be denied for abandonment.
3. Adjudication: USCIS will review your case initially to determine whether you are eligible for an EAD, if you have requested one, prior to a final decision on your TPS application. If eligible, you will receive an EAD after you have appeared for your biometrics appointment at an ASC. USCIS is making every effort to avoid backlogs at this stage, but we urge you to remember that USCIS may experience a higher volume of applications in the first few months of the registration period.
During the registration period, an EAD designated “C-19” will be issued to an applicant who applies before July 23, 2011, if one is requested, provided that the applicant demonstrates that he or she is prima facie eligible for TPS. See 8 C.F.R. § 244.5(b). To be prima facie eligible, it must appear to USCIS that you are eligible for TPS on the face of your application and that there is no known, potentially disqualifying information resulting from your background checks. See 8 C.F.R. § 244.1 for more regarding the definition of prima facie eligibility. Final determination on initial TPS applications filed under the re-designation will be made after July 23, 2011, so USCIS can determine whether the applicants have met the “continuous physical presence” requirement to have been present in the United States since that date. This requirement is separate from that of applicants to demonstrate that they have “continuously resided” in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011.
After this initial review of your TPS application, USCIS will complete final adjudication of your request for TPS. During this phase, we may ask you for additional documents to establish your eligibility for TPS. If you receive a request for evidence (RFE) or a notice of intent to deny, it is extremely important that you respond immediately to avoid processing delays and possible denial for failure to timely respond. USCIS will notify you that it has granted or denied your request for TPS upon completion of your case. If one of the grounds of inadmissibility that may be waived applies to you, USCIS will give you an opportunity to submit an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, Form I-601. Please submit this form within the time frame specified in the USCIS notice, or your case will be denied. (If you are aware at the time you apply for TPS that a waivable ground of inadmissibility applies to you, please include a Form I-601, with fee or fee waiver request, with your TPS application package.)
When to File for TPS Initial Registration or Re-registration
EAD Information for TPS Applications Still Pending as of May 19, 2011
Forms and Cost
These forms are free and available on the forms section of the USCIS website: www.uscis.gov/forms or by calling the toll-free USCIS Forms Hotline, 1-800-870-3676.
Cost for Registering for TPS for the First Time
Cost for TPS Re-registrants
If you are re-registering, there is no fee required to submit Form I-821. A biometric services fee of $85 is required if you are 14 years of age or older. You must include the fee of $380 for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) if you wish to receive an EAD, regardless of age. If you are not seeking an EAD, you must still submit Form I-765 without fee. Please note if you are re-registering for Haiti TPS, you must not file until May 23, 2011, following publication of the Federal Register notice instructing you to file.
There are many different types of documents you can submit to help demonstrate that you are a Haitian national, such as:
You may also submit copies of your school or medical records if they have information supporting your claim of Haitian nationality. If you do not have the documents listed above, you may provide other documentation that proves you are a Haitian national. You may also provide affidavits from friends or family members who have close personal knowledge of the date and place of your birth and your parents' nationality. The person making the affidavit should include information about how he or she knows you or is related to you, and how he or she knows the details of the date and place of your birth and the nationality of your parents. Remember that birth in Haiti alone does not necessarily mean you are a Haitian national. At least one parent must have been a Haitian national at the time of your birth, or you must have been naturalized in Haiti. If you were born to a Haitian parent in some country other than Haiti, you may also be a Haitian national, but you must still provide sufficient evidence to support your nationality. If USCIS does not find that the documents you submit with your application sufficiently demonstrate that you are Haitian (or that you have no nationality but last resided in Haiti before coming to the United States), then USCIS will send you a request for additional evidence of your nationality (or your claim to have last lived in Haiti without nationality).
Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by a complete word-for-word English translation. The person translating the document must certify that he or she is competent both in English and the foreign language used in the document that is being translated. He or she must also certify that the translation is true and correct to the best of his or her ability, knowledge and belief.
Where to File Your Application Package
You must register for TPS by filing an Application for Temporary Protected Status, Form I-821, and an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, with any appropriate fees or fee waiver requests, and supporting documentation.
These forms are free and available on the forms section of the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov/forms, or by calling the toll-free USCIS Forms Hotline, 1-800-870-3676.
Change of Address
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
Form AR-11 can also be filed electronically by following the directions on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. To facilitate processing your address change on your TPS application, you may call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833) 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.
If you are granted TPS and you need to travel abroad temporarily, you must obtain approval from USCIS before you travel if you wish to re-enter the United States with TPS status. USCIS exercises its discretion when evaluating applications for travel authorization and is not required to grant approval. To obtain travel authorization, 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.
If you need to travel while your TPS application is still pending with USCIS, you may also receive approval to travel as a matter of USCIS’s discretion. However, if your TPS application is denied while you are out of the United States, you may not be able to re-enter if you have no other immigration status. Please see additional warnings below.
Travel Warning: If you have been unlawfully present in the United States and then you leave, even on an approved advance parole document, you may become inadmissible for three or 10 years, depending on how long you were unlawfully present before you left. In addition, you may become ineligible for certain other immigration 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 RFEs, 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 United States for any period of time.
TPS Granted by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals
If an immigration judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) granted you TPS, you must provide USCIS with proof of the TPS grant (such as a final order from the IJ or final decision from the BIA) when you file 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.
If you are applying for an EAD, you must file Form I-765 with required fee(s) or fee waiver request. You must also submit a cover sheet that states "DO NOT REJECT - TPS GRANTED BY IJ/BIA." File your Form I-765 at the appropriate filing location based on your TPS country. If you previously applied for TPS with USCIS and were denied, please make sure to explain that the IJ or BIA granted you TPS based on the I-821 that USCIS previously denied, make sure to explain on your cover sheet that you were granted de novo review. (Note: A de novo review is when the immigration judge adjudicates your TPS request anew, as if your request had not previously been adjudicated.)
If you are applying for travel authorization, you must file Form I-131 with the required fee. File your Form I-131 at the appropriate filing location based on the state where you live.
After following the instructions above, we will send you a receipt notice (Form I-797). When you get the receipt notice, you must immediately send an email to the Service Center that will adjudicate your application.
Your email must include:
Only individuals who were granted TPS by an IJ or the BIA who are requesting an EAD or travel authorization will receive responses from the above email addresses. These email addresses are not for individual case status inquires.
Appealing a Denial
If USCIS denies your application, you will be informed in the denial notice whether you have 30 days to appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) pursuant to the TPS regulations in 8 C.F.R. Part 244. In some cases, such as when TPS is denied on certain mandatory criminal or security grounds, you may not have AAO appeal rights, although you can request an immigration judge to review your TPS request if you are in removal proceedings (see below). See 8 C.F.R. §§ 244.10; 244.18. You may also choose to file a Motion to Reconsider with the Service Center that adjudicated your TPS application.
You may file your motion or appeal to the AAO by submitting a Notice of Appeal or Motion, Form I-290B. The fee for filing a Form I-290B is $630, however you may request a fee waiver if you are unable to pay. If your TPS application is denied by the USCIS Service Center, we recommend that you consult with an accredited legal representative to determine whether you should pursue an appeal or motion. If you have been placed in removal proceedings, you may request that the immigration judge adjudicate your TPS application, and it will receive de novo review by the judge. If an immigration judge denies your request for TPS, you may file an appeal with the BIA.
Please be aware that some unauthorized practitioners may try to take advantage of you by claiming they can file TPS forms. These same individuals may ask that you pay them to file such forms. We want to ensure that all potential TPS applicants know how to obtain legitimate, accurate legal advice and assistance. A list of accredited representatives and free or low-cost legal providers is available on the USCIS website on the finding legal advice Web page.
USCIS strongly encourages TPS-eligible Haitian nationals to review the Federal Register notices published today on how to file an initial application for TPS, and later on May 23, 2011, on how to re-register for TPS. .
To learn more about TPS, please go to USCIS’s TPS Web page at www.uscis.gov. For further questions, please contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TTY).