The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that because the conditions in El Salvador  no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the designation set to expire on March 9, 2018, will terminate on September 9, 2019.  This conclusion is at odds with the State Department travel advisory, which says that travelers should reconsider travel to El Salvador due to violent crime (murder, assault, rape, armed robbery, gang activity, etc.).  The travel advisory can be found here.

Continue Reading Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador to End

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that because the conditions in El Salvador no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the designation set to expire on March 9, 2018, will terminate in 18 months.  TPS allows qualifying persons inside the United States to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve following civil war, natural disaster or similar extraordinary situations.  The final 18 months of designation gives those unable to acquire another legal status time to prepare to depart the United States by the TPS termination date.

USCIS will issue a notice in the Federal Register with the exact dates for re-registration and employment authorization document (EAD) renewal.  We expect that EADs set to expire on March 9, 2018, will be automatically extended for 6 months.  We will update this entry as soon as the Federal Register notice is released.

DHS announced that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Honduras who already hold TPS. TPS allows qualifying individuals to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve.  The new extension allows qualifying individuals from Honduras to re-register for TPS by  February 3, 2018.  Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals who timely re-register are automatically extended through July 5, 2018 (the USCIS web page indicates July 4, but the Federal Register notices indicates July 5). Employers can rely on the Federal Register notice for I-9 employment verification and re-verification purposes, which can be found here.

TPS typically is extended in 18-month increments, but the Secretary has the discretion to extend TPS for shorter periods.  Because the Secretary did not make a determination on Honduras’ designation by the statutory deadline (November 6, 2017), the extension was automatically extended for 6 months.  While DHS can still extend TPS further for Hondurans, it seems unlikely since DHS is ending TPS for other countries.  If TPS for Hondurans is not extended further, those unable to acquire another legal status will need to prepare to depart the United States by July 5, 2018.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that because the conditions in Nicaragua no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the designation set to expire on January 5, 2018, will now terminate on January 5, 2019.  TPS allows qualifying persons inside the United States to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve following civil war, natural disaster or similar extraordinary situations.  The final year of designation gives those unable to acquire another legal status time to prepare to depart the United States by the TPS termination date.

Nationals of Nicaragua holding TPS status have until February 13, 2018, to re-register to extend their status through the designation end date of January 5, 2019.   Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals already set to expire on January 5, 2018, are automatically extended through March 6, 2018, providing applicants time to apply for new employment authorization documents valid through the termination date. Employers can rely on the Federal Register notice for I-9 employment verification and re-verification purposes, which can be found here.

Following reports that DHS rejected 4,000 timely-filed DACA renewal applications for being late due to USPS delays, DHS Secretary Elaine Dukes directed the USCIS to accept the applications, provided that the resubmissions include “individualized proof” that the applications were originally mailed in a timely matter and that the delivery delay was because of USPS error.  Secretary Dukes did not define what constitutes proof of timely filing; however, those who do not have such documentation can contact USPS to review their cases.  USPS will provide applicants with letters to submit to USCIS with the resubmissions, if appropriate.

USCIS also discovered that it rejected some timely-filed applications in error, and will reach out to those applicants to advise them to resubmit their applications.  Those not contacted by the USCIS who believe their applications were erroneously rejected may also resubmit their applications with proof that their applications were received timely at the designated filing location.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that because the conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the designation set to expire on November 2, 2017, will terminate on November 2, 2018.  TPS allows qualifying persons inside the United States to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve following civil war, natural disaster or similar extraordinary situations.  The final year of designation gives those unable to acquire another legal status time to prepare to depart the United States by the TPS termination date.

Nationals of Sudan holding TPS status have until December 11, 2017, to re-register to extend their status through the designation end date of November 2, 2018.   Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals already set to expire on November 2, 2017, are automatically extended through May 1, 2018. Employers can rely on the DHS announcement for I-9 employment verification and re-verification purposes.

Following the arrest of a US consular employee by Turkish authorities, the United States has suspended the issuance of nonimmigrant visas at the US Embassy in Ankara and the US Consulate General in Istanbul.  This is not a travel ban on Turkish nationals, as those with nonimmigrant visas can continue to use them, and those wishing to apply for nonimmigrant visas can do so at other US consular locations outside of Turkey.  The processing of immigrant visas will continue without interruption.

In response, the government of Turkey announced the immediate suspension of visa services to US citizens.  This suspension includes the issuance of physical sticker visas issued at border posts, as well as the online “e-visa”.  US citizens planning to visit Turkey should contact the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or a Turkish Embassy or Consulate in the United States, before travel.

DHS announced that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of South Sudan who already hold TPS. TPS allows qualifying individuals to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve.  The new extension allows qualifying individuals from South Sudan to reapply for TPS and work authorization that will be valid until May 2, 2019. The re-registration period ends on November 20, 2017. Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals are automatically extended through May 1, 2018. Employers can rely on the DHS announcement for I-9 employment verification and re-verification purposes.  Please note that this does NOT apply to nationals of Sudan.

 Click here for additional information.

The State Department online registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2019 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery begins October 3, 2017 (at noon EST), and ends on November 7, 2017 (at noon EST). The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas (“green cards”) outside of the normal immigrant visa process. Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well. Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse’s nationality) and high school education or work experience. Complete eligibility requirements and filing instructions can be found here.

Before taking office, President Trump said that he would end the DV lottery and that the upcoming lottery may be the last.  We will update this blog if there are any changes to the DV lottery program