Extension And Redesignation Of Syria For Temporary Protected Status

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is extending the designation of the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from April 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016, and redesignating Syria for TPS for 18 months, effective April 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.

The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through September 30, 2016, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. The redesignation of Syria allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since January 5, 2015 to obtain TPS, if otherwise eligible. The Secretary has determined that an extension of the current designation and a redesignation of Syria for TPS are warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the 2013 TPS redesignation have not only persisted, but have deteriorated, and because the ongoing armed conflict in Syria and other extraordinary and temporary conditions would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of Syrian nationals if they were required to return to their country.

DHS also sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Syria (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) either to: (1) Re-register under the extension if they already have TPS and to apply for renewal of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); or, (2) submit an initial registration application under the redesignation and apply for an EAD.

For individuals who have already been granted TPS under the 2012 original Syria designation or under the 2013 Syria redesignation, the 60-day re-registration period runs from January 5, 2015 through March 6, 2015. USCIS will issue new EADs with a September 30, 2016 expiration date to eligible Syria TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on March 31, 2015. Accordingly, through this Notice, DHS automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Syria for 6 months, through September 30, 2015, and explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended and their impact on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify processes.

Under the redesignation, individuals who currently do not have TPS (or an initial TPS application pending) may submit an initial application during the 180-day initial registration period that runs from January 5, 2015 through July 6, 2015. In addition to demonstrating continuous residence in the United States since January 5, 2015 and meeting other eligibility criteria, initial applicants for TPS under this redesignation must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States since April 1, 2015, the effective date of this redesignation of Syria, before USCIS may grant them TPS.

TPS initial applications that were either filed during 2012 designation or during the 2013 Syria redesignation and remain pending on January 5, 2015 will be treated as initial applications under this 2015 redesignation. Individuals who have a pending initial Syria TPS application will not need to file a new Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). DHS provides additional instructions in this Notice for individuals whose TPS applications remain pending and who would like to obtain an EAD valid through September 30, 2016