Haiti and Burma were recently designated for 18-month Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by the US Department of Homeland Security. This 18-month TPS designation allows Haitian nationals living in the US as of May 21, 2021, and Burmese nationals living in the US as of March 11, 2021, to file initial or renewal applications for TPS. This TPS designation is also applicable to individuals without nationality who last resided in either Haiti or Burma.
According to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the current situation in Haiti, including a political crisis, social unrest, “an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” merits the US support of Haitian nationals in the US until conditions improve in Haiti. In reference to current unrest in Burma, Secretary Mayorkas stated that, “Due to the military coup and security forces’ brutal violence against civilians, the people of Burma are suffering a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crises in many parts of the country,” falling under the statutory base for extraordinary and temporary conditions for TPS.
When should I file?
Eligible individuals under the new TPS designations for Burma and Haiti must file an application with USCIS within the registration period. The 180-day TPS registration period for Burmese nationals is effective from May 25, 2021, through November 22, 2021 . The registration period for Haitian nationals will begin upon the forthcoming publication date of the Federal Register Notice. Current beneficiaries under Haiti’s TPS designation will also need to renew their TPS to ensure they do not lose TPS coverage or undergo a gap in coverage. Individuals filing their TPS applications may also file applications for an Employment Authorization Document and travel authorization at the same time.
Who is eligible for TPS?
The new TPS designation applies to individuals who have been residing in the US as of May 21, 2021, for Haitian nationals, and as of March 11, 2021, for Burmese nationals. Other requirements for eligibility must also be met. You may not be eligible for an initial or renewal TPS application if you have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the US, are found inadmissible under grounds in INA section 212(a), or are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum.
It is important to note that anyone travelling to the US after May 21, 2021, from Haiti, and after March 11, 2021, from Burma, are not eligible under the TPS designation, and could be repatriated. These new TPS designations will allow more than 100,000 Haitian and 1,600 Burmese nationals currently living in the U.S. to be eligible for initial or renewal TPS due to the dangerous and volatile conditions in their home countries.
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Author: Claudine Umuhire Gasana, Immigration Attorney