On March 5, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an announcement in the Federal Register stating that it will permit current Syrian beneficiaries of temporary protected status (TPS) to extend their status through September 30, 2019, provided they reregister for the designation between March 5, 2018, and May 4, 2018. Additionally, USCIS announced that it will automatically extend employment authorization documents (EADs) for Syrian nationals currently under the TPS program with EADs that expire on March 31, 2018, for 180 days through September 27, 2018.
To qualify for the Syrian TPS designation, one must be a Syrian national who has continuously resided in the United States since August 1, 2016, and has been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2016.
TPS beneficiaries are able to remain in the United States without fear of deportation, can request travel authorization, and can obtain EADs during designated periods. Furthermore, once TPS is granted, recipients cannot be detained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the basis of their current immigration status.
A grant of TPS does not in itself lead to lawful permanent resident status or afford any other immigration status. However, if eligible, an individual may apply for nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status, or any other immigration benefit while being a TPS beneficiary. An application for TPS will not negatively affect an application for asylum, withholding of removal, or relief under the Convention Against Torture.
The secretary of homeland security may select foreign countries under the TPS program due to dangerous or hazardous country conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain situations, where the country is simply unable to handle the return of its nationals.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor the implementation of this policy memorandum and will post updates as additional information becomes available.