On January 11, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain El Salvadoran nationals in the United States.  Currently, TPS status for qualifying El Salvadoran nationals expires on March 9, 2012.  With the extension, Temporary Protected Status for eligible El Salvadoran nationals is extended through September 9, 2013.

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 Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.   Qualified nationals of the designated countries may remain in the United States and are given authorization to work.

El Salvadoran nationals already in TPS status must re-register with DHS during the 60 day re-registration period that runs through March 12, 2012.  These individuals can also file Form I-765 application for employment authorization.  However, because it is unlikely that they will receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before the current EAD expires, the Federal Register announcement also automatically extends the EADs of these TPS registered El Salvadorans for six months, through September 9, 2012.  (The EADs would otherwise expire on March 9, 2012.)

Employers may accept the expired EAD card that has been automatically extended for proof of work authorization or continued work authorization through September 9, 2012, for Form I-9 purposes.  Employers can recognize the automatically extended EAD because the notation “A-12” or “C-19” will appear on the face of the card under the word “Category.”  In the case of qualified El Salvadoran nationals, the EAD will have an expiration date of March 9, 2012.  When updating the Form I-9 for a current employee, in Section 1 and in Section 2, the employer should draw a line through the March 12, 2012 expiration date, write September 9, 2012 above the crossed-out expiration date, write “TPS Ext.” in the margin, and date and initial the change.  Employers will need to reverify the employee on or before September 9, 2012.  The employee may present any List A or List C document to establish his or her continued work authorization.  The employer may not specify that the employee present a new EAD as proof of work authorization.

CLICK HERE to access a copy of the Federal Register notice.