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In response to the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Obama administration announced that Haitians in the United States as of that date would be allowed to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The initial period of designation is for 18 months, with further extensions that may be granted in the future depending upon the situation at that time. TPS allows eligible aliens to live and work in the United States legally, even if the alien has fallen out of status or entered the U.S. illegally. TPS will also serve to grant a stay of deportation/removal to aliens who have already been ordered deported or removed.

As an immigration benefit, TPS is very valuable to a non-citizen as it not only provides a legally protected immigration status, but it also provides a basis to apply for a work permit which opens the door to many other benefits that are essential to living in the U.S. (such as a drivers license, identity documents, financial transactions, etc.).

It is also critical that eligible applicants apply for TPS during the registration period (set forth below), as, in order to apply under any possible future extensions, the applicant (subject to certain exceptions) will generally have to show that they applied for and were granted TPS under the first designation. Therefore, if you are or may be eligible for TPS, it is recommended that you apply ASAP.

In order to QUALIFY for TPS, you must:

  • Be a national of Haiti, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti;

  • Have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2010.

  • Have been continuously physically present in the United States since the date of the Federal Register Notice publication, which will be Jan. 21, 2010.

  • Meet certain immigrant admissibility requirements, and other TPS eligibility requirements (See INA § 244(c), 8 U.S.C. § 1254a and 8 C.F.R. §§ 244.2 - 244.4).

  • Satisfactorily complete all TPS application procedures as described in the Federal Register notice announcing Haitian TPS, the TPS application instructions (Form I-821), and regulations at 8 C.F.R. §§ 244.6 - 244.9.

NEW TPS REGISTRATION PERIOD. The re-designation of Haiti for TPS allows additional Haitians who have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 12, 2011 to obtain TPS, as long as they meet all other eligibility criteria. Qualified applicants must apply during the registration period which ends on November 15, 2011.

TPS RE-REGISTRATION PERIOD. In order to obtain TPS, applicants who already have TPS and are re-registering must file during the re-registration period that ends on August 22, 2011. Applications must be received or postmarked before the last day of the registration period to be considered timely.

NOTE THAT YOU CAN STILL APPLY FOR TPS EVEN IF YOU CURRENTLY HOLD AND MAINTAIN SOME OTHER NON-IMMIGRANT STATUS, such as B1/B2, F-1 (student), H-1B, TN, etc. In this case, the TPS will be in addition to the status that you currently have. However, it is important to note that TPS will NOT replace your current status, and thus, if you wish to maintain that status, you will need to follow the usual rules and procedures (that relate to maintaining, extending or reapplying) which relate to the particular non-immigrant status which you currently hold.

We can assist you in the preparation, filing and processing of your TPS application at a reduced fee. In addition, we will provide free review of your immigration status and review future immigration options for you and your family at no extra charge. Please call Fort Lauderdale Immigration Laywer Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111 for more information.

If you have any questions, contact South Florida Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111.