On November 4, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) extended the Temporary Protected Status designation for Honduras and Nicaragua for a period of eighteen (18) months, until July 5, 2013. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of designated countries because the country has experienced temporary negative conditions, such as armed conflict or an environmental disaster, that prevent nationals of that country from returning safely or prevent the country from handling their return adequately. There are currently several countries designated for TPS, including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti.
Qualifying individuals from Honduras and Nicaragua may re-register for TPS status by filing Form I-821. Applicants can also apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting Form I-765. The EADs of Hondurans and Nicaraguans currently in TPS status will be automatically extended for a period of six months, through July 5, 2012. The automatic extension is limited to EADs with an expiration date of January 5, 2012. The EADs must also bear the designation “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under “Category” to qualify for the six month extension. Eventually, qualified individuals will receive new EADs valid to July 5, 2013.
When completing Form I-9 using an automatically extended EAD prior to July 5, 2012, for a new hire, the USCIS advises as follows:
1. In Section 1, the employee checks “An alien authorized to work,” writes the A-number in the first space, and writes the automatic extension date (July 12, 2012) in the second space.
2. In Section 2, the employer records the document title, records the document number, and records the automatically extended EAD expiration date (July 12, 2012).
After July 5, 2012, the employer will have to re-verify the employee’s authorization to work.
For an existing employee who presented a TPS EAD that was valid at the time of hire, has a printed expiration date of January 5, 2012, and is now automatically extended, the USCIS recommends the following Form I-9 procedure:
1. In Section 1, the employee draws a line through the expiration date in the second space, writes July 5, 2012 above the previous date, writes “TPS Ext.” in the margin of Section 1, and initials and dates the correction.
2. In Section 2, the employer draws a line through the expiration date written in Section 2, writes July 5, 2012 above the previous date, writes “TPS Ext.” in the margin of Section 2, and initials and dates the correction.
After July 5, 2012, the employer must re-verify the employee’s authorization to work.
Employers who participate in E-Verify will receive a “Work Authorization Documents Expiring” case alert. For existing employees with TPS EADs that have been automatically extended, USCIS instructs employers to disregard the E-Verify case alert and follow the instructions above explaining how to correct the Form I-9.
USCIS reminds employers that they cannot require employees to present proof of their Honduran or Nicaraguan citizenship.