Extension of Nepal TPS Designation

Introduction: Extending Nepal TPS Designation

Nepal TPSOn October 26, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a Federal Register notice extending the designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eighteen months, effective December 25, 2016, and through June 24, 2018 [see 81 FR 77470]. Please see the USCIS news release as well [link].

Please see our full article on TPS to learn about the rules for applying for TPS, re-registering for TPS, and maintaining TPS [see article]. To learn about dual-nationality and TPS, please see our full article on that subject [see article].

Re-Registering for Nepal TPS

Current TPS beneficiaries from Nepal who want to extend their TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period for Nepal TPS. The re-registration period began on October 26, 2016, and will run through December 27, 2016. The USCIS encourages TPS beneficiaries from Nepal to re-register as soon as possible after the commencement of the re-registration period.

In order to re-register for TPS, a beneficiary must submit the following:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (no application fee required for re-registrants);
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (required regardless of whether re-registrant is seeking employment authorization, but the application fee, or fee waiver request, is required if the re-registrant is seeking employment authorization); and
  • The biometric services fee (or fee waiver request) for re-registrants 14 years of age or older.

If a re-registrant applicant is applying for a waiver of any required fees associated with the application, he or she must submit the request in the form of a Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by otherwise submitting a written request. The applicant must submit evidence establishing that he or she merits a fee waiver along with the request. Please see our full article about fee waivers to learn more [see article].

If a fee waiver request is denied, the applicant will be permitted to re-file the application with the requisite fee(s) prior to the expiration of the 60-day re-registration period. An applicant whose fee-waiver application was denied may also seek to file after the 60-day re-registration period. Late re-registration applications will be reviewed by the USCIS to determine whether the applicant has established “good cause” for the late filing. The USCIS urges applicants to re-file within 45 days of the date of the fee waiver denial.

Mailing the Application

Online filing is not available for Nepal TPS beneficiaries seeking to re-register for TPS. The following chart contains information regarding where re-registrants must mail their application packets [link]:

If you are sending your application by: Mail your application to:
U.S. Postal Service USCIS
P.O. Box 7555
Chicago, IL 60680
A non-U.S. Postal Service courier Attn: Nepal TPS
131 S. Dearborn 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 6060

 

Employment Authorization for Re-Registrants

A re-registrant applicant may apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD). In order to apply for employment authorization, the re-registrant applicant must submit the requisite fee, or application for fee waiver, in conjunction with the Form I-765. If the new EAD is granted, the TPS beneficiary will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of June 24, 2018.

In recognition of the fact that certain re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current work permits expire, the USCIS will automatically extend all current TPS Nepal EADs with a December 24, 2016, expiration date, for six months. Therefore, the new expiration date for existing TPS Nepal EADs will be June 24, 2017. Because the extension is automatic, current Nepal TPS beneficiaries need not file a new application for the extension. The Federal Register notice explains the requirements for employers to update the Nepal TPS beneficiary's Form I-9 with information regarding the automatic extension. A Nepal TPS beneficiary may show the employer a copy of the Federal Register notice, which the employer may rely upon as evidence of the continuing validity of the EAD. Employers will be required to accept an EAD that has been automatically extended until June 24, 2017. After June 24, 2017, the Nepal TPS beneficiary must have procured a new EAD with an expiration date of June 24, 2018.

Please see our full article to learn about the rules of maintaining a separate nonimmigrant status that restricts employment authorization and using a TPS EDA (applicable for those who are simultaneously on a nonimmigrant status and on TPS) [see article].

Why is the Nepal TPS Designation Being Extended?

The Federal Register notice explains why the Secretary of Homeland Security decided to extend the Nepal TPS designation. Nepal was originally approved for TPS due to the aftermath of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. Although the Federal Register notice (at page 7741) explains that conditions in Nepal have improved subsequent to the earthquake, they have not improved enough for Nepal to lose its TPS designation. The Federal Register notice cites to the following factors:

  • Delays in the recovery and reconstruction process due to civil unrest and the prolonged obstruction of Nepal's border with India;
  • Large numbers of persons without permanent or safe housing; and
  • Strained infrastructure that negatively impacts housing, food, medicine, and education.

Conclusion

A Nepal TPS beneficiary must endeavor to re-register for TPS during the 60-day re-registration window. An experienced immigration attorney can help re-registration applicants properly file the forms and submit evidence, assess eligibility for fee waivers, and help TPS beneficiaries understand the rules of TPS and any related issues (e.g., applying for adjustment of status, maintaining a nonimmigrant status while using a TPS EAD, etc.). An experienced immigration attorney may help an employer understand the employment verification requirements associated with a TPS beneficiary.