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Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would extend temporary protected status (TPS) for Haitian nationals in the U.S. The extension is for only six months and there is a good possibility that DHS will decline to extend TPS status for Haitian nationals beyond January 22, 2018.

Current beneficiaries of Haiti’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS must re-register by July 24, 2017. TPS beneficiaries who re-register may request a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by filing Form I-765 application for employment authorization. Those who re-register and request a new EAD during the 60-day re-registration period receive an automatic extension of their expiring EAD for up to 180 days from the date their current EAD expires. Current EADs will not be automatically extended unless the Haitian national files a new Form I-765 application to extend work authorization. If a beneficiary’s EAD request is approved, they will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of January 22, 2018.

In the case of employees or applicants in TPS status, the DHS’s I-9 Handbook for Employers provides the following guidance for completing or updating the Form I-9:

  1. The combination of an expired EAD noting a qualifying eligibility code (either A-12 or C-19 for individuals in TPS) with a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, acknowledging receipt of an EAD renewal application and noting an eligibility category code of A-12 or C-19 constitutes an unexpired EAD (Form I-766) under List A of Form I-9, so long as Form I-797C shows that the individual filed the renewal application between now and July 24, 2017.
  2.  When the employee’s current EAD expires, the employer and the employee should update the employment authorization/EAD expiration dates stated on the previously completed Form I-9 (Sections 1 and 2 or 3) to reflect the extended expiration date (January 22, 2018). Cross out the current dates and write in “January 22, 2018” and initial the correction. Note that the employee must make and initial the correction if one is necessary in Section 1, while the employer must make and initial the correction in Section 2 or 3.
  3. In the case of a new hire presenting an automatically extended EAD, the expiration dates to be entered on Form I-9 should be January 22, 2018.
  4. If the employer retains copies of documents with Form I-9, the employer should keep copies of both the expired EAD and the Form I-797C evidencing the filing for a new EAD.
  5. On or before January 22, 2018, the employer must re-verify the employee’s employment authorization. It is quite possible that, unless the Haitian national can qualify for work authorization independent of the TPS program, he or she will lose authorization to work after January 22, 2018.

DHS is preparing Haitian nationals for the possibility that Haiti’s TPS designation will not be renewed again. DHS will advise us by Thanksgiving whether it will extend or terminate TPS designation for Haiti.