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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian Nationals

March 25, 2012

Temporary Protected Status for Syrians in the United States

The United States has approved Temporary Protected Status for Syrians in the United States. If you are in the United States as a visitor, or even illegal, you may receive a work permit and a social security number for 18 months. Most likely the 18 months will be extended if the situation in Syria does not improve. For more details, you may call attorney Kamal Nawash at 202-776-7191.

www.nawashlaw.com

What is TPS

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:

· Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)

· An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic

· Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible):

· Are not removable from the United States

· Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)

· May be granted for travel authorization

Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.

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:

· Applying for nonimmigrant status

· Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition

· Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible

PLEASE NOTE: To be granted any other immigration benefit you must still meet all the eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. 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.

Designated Country

Most Recent Designation Date

Current Expiration Date

Current Re-Registration Period

Current Initial Registration Period

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Automatically Extended Through

Syria

March 29, 2012

September 30, 2013

N/A

March 29, 2012 through September 25, 2012

N/A

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for TPS, you must:

· Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country

· File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or you meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country's TPS designation (Late initial filers see 'Filing Late' section below)

· Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country

· Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country. (See your country's TPS Web page to the left). The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case

You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:

· Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States

· Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds

· Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity

· Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements

· Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements

· If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause

What to File

You must include the necessary forms, evidence, fees or fee waiver when filing your TPS application. Below is information about what you must include in your TPS package. Please also check your country's specific TPS page to the left to see if there are any special filing instructions specific to your TPS designated country.

Forms

To register or re-register for TPS you must file:

1. Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

PLEASE NOTE: Both I-821 and I-765 forms must be filed even if you do not want work an Employment Authorization Document.

If you are aware when you apply that a relevant ground of inadmissibility applies to you and you need a waiver to obtain TPS, please include a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, and fee or fee waiver request, with your TPS application package. However, you do not need to file a new Form I-601 for an incident that USCIS has already waived with a prior TPS application. USCIS may grant a waiver of certain inadmissibility grounds for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is in the public interest.

Evidence

When filing a TPS application, you must submit:

· Identity and Nationality Evidence: to demonstrate your identity and that you are a national of from a country designated for TPS (or that you have no nationality and you last habitually resided in a country designated for TPS)

· Date of Entry Evidence: to demonstrate when you entered the United States

· Continuously Residing (CR) Evidence: to demonstrate that you have been in the United States since the CR date specified for your country (See your country's TPS Web page to the left)

Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. The translator must certify that:

· He or she Is competent both in English and the foreign language used in the original document

· the translation is true and correct to the best of his or her ability, knowledge and belief

Identity and Nationality Evidence

We encourage you to submit primary evidence, if available. If USCIS does not find that the documents you submit with your application are sufficient, we will send you a request for additional evidence. If you cannot submit primary evidence of your identity and nationality, available, you may submit the secondary evidence listed below with your application.

The following table explains the different types of evidence you can provide.

Primary Evidence

· A copy of your passport

· A copy of your birth certificate, accompanied by photo identification

· Any national identity document bearing your photograph or fingerprint (or both) issued by your country, including such documents issued by your country's Embassy or Consulate in the United States. Such as a national ID card or naturalization certificate

No Primary Evidence

If you do not have any of the primary evidence listed above, you must submit an affidavit with:

· Proof of your unsuccessful efforts to obtain such documents

· An explanation why the consular process for your country was unavailable to you, and affirming that you are a national of your country

USCIS will interview you regarding your identity and nationality, and you may also submit additional evidence of your nationality and identity then if available.

Secondary Evidence

· Nationality documentation, such as a naturalization certificate, even if it does not have your photograph and fingerprint

· Your baptismal certificate if it indicates your nationality or a parent's nationality

· Copies of your school or medical records if they have information supporting your claim that you are a national from a country designated for TPS

· Copies of other immigration documents showing your nationality and identity

· 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. The nationality of your parents is of importance if you are from a country where nationality is derived from a parent.

You may also provide any other document or information that you believe helps show your nationality.

PLEASE NOTE: Birth in a TPS designated country does not always mean you are a national from that country. Please see your TPS designated country's nationality laws for further information.

Date of Entry Evidence

· A copy of your passport

· I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

· Copies of documents specified in the 'Continuous Residing Evidence' section below

Continuously Residing (CR) Evidence

· Employment Records

· Rent receipts, utility bills, receipts or letters from companies

· School records from the schools that you or your children have attended in the U.S.

· Hospital or medical records concerning treatment or hospitalization of you or your children

· Attestations by church, union or other organization officials who know you and where you have been residing

Please see the I-821 Form Instructions for more details on acceptable evidence.

Fees for Registering for TPS for the First Time

Applicant Age

Form I-821 Fee

Biometrics Fee

Requesting EAD

Form I-765

Total

0-13

$50

$0

Yes

$0

$50

0-13

$50

$0

No

(You still must file the I-765)

$0

$50

14-65

$50

$85

Yes

$380

$515

14-65

$50

$85

No

(You still must file the I-765)

$0

$135

66+

$50

$85

Yes

$0

$135

66+

$50

$85

No

(You still must file the I-765)

$0

$135

Fees for Re-registering for TPS

If you are re-registering for TPS you must include the following fees:

1. A biometric services fee of $85 (if you are 14 years of age or older)

2. The Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization fee of $380, if you wish to receive an EAD

If you are not seeking an EAD, you must still submit Form I-765 without fee. There is no fee required to submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.

Please check your country's specific TPS page to see if there is any special fee information specific to your TPS designated country.

Application Process

Step 1: File Your Petition

Once you have prepared your TPS package with the forms, evidence and filing fees, you will need to send it to the address indicated on your TPS country page to the left. Please make sure you sign your application and include the correct fee amount. These are the two of the most common mistakes USCIS receives on TPS applications.

Step 2: USCIS Receives Your Application

When USCIS receives your application; they will review it 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 entered into our system and we will send you a receipt notice. At the top of this notice you will find a receipt number which can be used to check the status of your case online.

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 review stage, you may re-file within the registration period after correcting the problems described in the USCIS notification.

If your application was rejected because we determined you were not eligible for a fee waiver, you may submit a new TPS package. Go to the 'Fee Waiver' section above for more information.

Step 3: USCIS Contacts You

If USCIS needs to collect your photograph, signature, and/or fingerprints (these are called biometrics), USCIS will send you an appointment notice to have your biometrics captured at an Application Support Center (ASC). Every TPS applicant over 14 years old must have their biometrics collected. Biometrics are required for identity verification, background checks and the production of an EAD, if one has been requested.

In certain situations, such as when it's impossible to take a fingerprint, USCIS can waive the collection of biometrics. In some cases, we may be able to reuse the biometrics previously collected in association with your previous TPS application. Even if you do not need to attend an ASC appointment, you still need to pay the biometrics fee (if required) to help cover costs associated with reusing your biometrics.

Step 4: Go to the ASC

When you report to an ASC, you must bring:

1. Evidence of nationality and identity with a photograph of you, such as a passport

2. Your receipt notice

3. Your ASC appointment notice

4. Your current EAD, if you already have one

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.

WARNING: 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.

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 you have appeared at an ASC for your biometrics appointment. Please see the travel section below for more information.

Maintaining TPS

Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits. This applies to all TPS beneficiaries, including those who were initially granted by USCIS, an Immigration Judge, or the BIA. Follow the instructions above to apply for re-registration.

Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension

Sometimes DHS must issue a blanket automatic extension of the expiring EADs for TPS beneficiaries of a specific country in order to allow time for EADs with new validity dates to be issued. If your country's EADs have been automatically extended, it will be indicated on your country specific pages to the left.

Filing Late

Late Initial Filing for TPS

You can still apply for TPS for the first time during an extension of your country's TPS designation period, even if the initial registration period has closed. If you qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must still independently meet all the TPS eligibility requirements listed in the Eligibility section above.

At least one of the conditions below must have existed during the initial registration period for your country or during any future initial registration period if your country was re-designated for TPS:

· You were a nonimmigrant, were granted voluntary departure status, or any relief from removal

· You had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal which was pending or subject to further review or appeal

· You were a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole

· You are a spouse or a child of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS

Please check your country-specific Web page for the dates of the initial registration period or periods that apply for late initial filing. You must file while one of the conditions listed above either still exists or within 60 days of the condition ending in order to be eligible for late initial filing for TPS. The 60-day time limit does not apply if you are filing late as a child of a currently eligible TPS beneficiary.

If your parent is currently eligible for TPS and you are his or her child (unmarried and under 21 years old) at any time during a TPS initial registration period for your country, you may still be eligible for late initial filing for TPS, even if you are now over 21 years old or married. There are no time restrictions to submit a late initial filing in this situation, and you may apply for TPS during an extension of your TPS designated country.

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot obtain TPS as a derivative because your parent or child has TPS.

Travel

If you have TPS and wish to travel outside the United States, you must apply for a travel authorization. Travel authorization for TPS is issued as an advance parole document if USCIS determines it is appropriate to approve your request. This document gives you permission to leave the United States and return during a specified period of time. To apply for advance parole, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (see form on right). If you leave the United States without requesting advance parole, you may lose TPS and you may not be permitted to re-enter the United States.

TRAVEL WARNING: If you have been unlawfully present in the United States and then leave, you may become inadmissible, even if you traveled with an approved advance parole document. The amount of time for which you will be inadmissible will depend on the length of your unlawful presence within the U.S.

Generally you will be permitted to re-enter the U.S. and resume your TPS if you return within the period specified on the advance parole document and your country is still designated for TPS. However, you may become ineligible for future benefits, such as permanent residence status, based on any unlawful presence or other grounds.

If USCIS is still adjudicating your TPS application, you may miss important USCIS notices, such as Requests for Additional Evidence, while you are outside the U.S. Failure to respond to these requests may result in the denial of your application.

We encourage you to read and understand the travel warning on Form I-131 before requesting advance parole, even if you have been granted TPS. If you have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for any period of time, you may want to seek legal advice before requesting advance parole for travel.

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