U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to citizens of El Salvador whose status expires on September 9, 2012, until March 9, 2012. Over the course of the past year, DHS and the State Department studied conditions in El Salvador. Following this analysis, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano determined that an 18-month extension is justified, as the conditions that led to the TPS designation in 2001 following a series of earthquakes persist and prevent El Salvador from receiving its citizens adequately. Under this extension, individuals with TPS are currently eligible to re-enroll and maintain their status for 18 more months. It is estimated that some 217,000 citizens of El Salvador (and people without nationality whose last residence was in that country) will be able to register again. TPS is not an immigration benefit available to Salvadoran citizens who entered the United States after February 13, 2001. It is extremely important that Salvadorans under TPS apply as soon as possible during the re-registration period from July 9 to September 7, 2010. Re-enrolling immediately allows USCIS to complete all routine procedures for processing the application. USCIS will process a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for TPS beneficiaries who submit their registration and apply for an EAD early. USCIS will extend the validity of the EADs of Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries for six months until March 9, 2011. This automatic extension will allow all those eligible for TPS to re-enroll and receive an EAD without affecting their work authorization period. The Federal Register notice explains how Salvadorans covered by TPS and their employers can determine whether an EAD has been extended automatically. TPS beneficiaries must re-register by filling out the Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants seeking an extension of their employment authorization must submit the Employment Authorization Application with the required fee. If someone just needs to re-register and does not want a work permit they can do so by filling out form I-765 to provide information to USCIS; the fee is not required in that case. Applicants over 14 years of age must include the fee for biometric costs. Those who can prove they can’t afford the fee must apply for exemption for the fee associated with the application, biometric costs, or both. If the appropriate documentation is not included, the application to re-register will be rejected. If you have never registered for TPS, you may be able to do so now during this period if you can check

  1. who is a citizen of El Salvador or
  2. a foreigner without nationality whose last residence was in El Salvador
  3. has lived in the United States continuously since February 13, 2001
  4. has been physically present in the United States since March 9, 2001
  5. can complete routine background checks satisfactorily and
  6. may meet certain other eligibility and admissibility criteria set forth in section 244(c) of the INA, 8 USC 1254a(c), and 8 CFR 244.1 through 244.9.

For more information on how to re-enroll or apply for TPS for the first time, call the offices of Attorney Abraham B. Cardenas for help with your paperwork at 786-347-1605.