Do not tell Donald Trump but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is again extending the Temporary Protected Status designation for Haiti for a period of eighteen (18) months, from January 23, 2016 through July 22, 2017. 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 Haiti may re-register for TPS status by filing Form I-821 during the period from August 25 to October 26, 2015. Applicants can also apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting Form I-765. The EADs of Haitians currently in TPS status will be automatically extended for a period of six months, through July 22, 2016. The automatic extension is limited to EADs with an expiration date of January 22, 2016. 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 22, 2017.
When completing Form I-9 using an automatically extended EAD prior to July 22, 2016, for a new hire, the USCIS advises as follows:
- In Section 1, the employee checks “An alien authorized to work,” writes the automatic extension date (July 22, 2016) in the first space, and writes the A-number in the second space.
- In Section 2, the employer records the document title (Employment Authorization Document), issuing authority (DHS), records the document number, and records the automatically extended EAD expiration date (July 22, 2016).
By July 22, 2016, 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 22, 2016, and is now automatically extended for six months, the USCIS recommends the following Form I-9 procedure:
- In Section 1, the employee draws a line through the expiration date, writes July 22, 2016 above the previous date, writes “TPS Ext.” in the margin of Section 1, and initials and dates the correction.
- In Section 2, the employer draws a line through the expiration date written in Section 2, writes July 22, 2016 above the previous date, writes “TPS Ext.” in the margin of Section 2, and initials and dates the correction.
By July 22, 2016, 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 by clicking the red X in the “dismiss alert” column and to follow the instructions above explaining how to correct the Form I-9. Although employers will have to re-verify the employee’s work authorization by July 22, 2016, the employer does not use E-Verify for re-verification.
USCIS reminds employers that they cannot require employees to present proof of their Haitian citizenship.