TPS for Haiti Extended Six Months
On May 22, 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, announced a six-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti [PDF version]. The extension will be in effect from July 23, 2017 through January 22, 2018.
In his statement announcing the extension, Secretary Kelly praised the progress that Haiti has made in recovering from the 2010 earthquake that prompted Haiti's designation for TPS. He noted that he was encouraged by the Haitian government's desire to welcome its nationals back to Haiti.
Secretary Kelly noted that the six-month extension should allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States to attain travel documents and make preparations to depart the United States.
However, prior to the expiration of the six-month extension on January 22, 2018, Secretary Kelly will re-evaluate the TPS designation for Haiti. Secretary Kelly will have the option of extending TPS for Haiti again, re-designating Haiti for TPS, or terminating TPS for Haiti.
The DHS news release states that further details about the extension of TPS for Haiti will be published in the Federal Register later this week. We will update the site with more information upon the publication of the Federal Register notice.
What the Extension Means
As expected, Secretary Kelly opted for a short six-month extension of TPS for Haiti.
The language of Secretary Kelly's statement, in conjunction with the recommendation of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to not renew Haiti's TPS designation [see article], make it clear that TPS for Haiti may be terminated after January 22, 2018. Although it is possible that Haiti may be re-designated for TPS or that Secretary Kelly may choose to extend it again for another short period, beneficiaries of Haitian TPS should prepare as if it will not be extended.
If a beneficiary of Haitian TPS is concurrently maintaining a separate immigration status, he or she may remain in the United States on such status. Such individuals would be permitted to remain in the United States on a separate nonimmigrant status if Haitian TPS were terminated.
However, an individual whose only status is Haitian TPS would not be permitted to remain in the United States beyond the termination of Haitian TPS. Such individuals who do not have a separate lawful immigration status should ensure that they are prepared to depart the United States in the event that TPS for Haiti is not extended beyond January 22, 2018. Additionally, such individuals may also use the six month extension to seek a separate immigration status that would permit them to remain in the United States with legal authorization.
A beneficiary of Haitian TPS should work closely with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the six-month extension period. An attorney may explain the current situation regarding TPS for Haiti and assist the individual in using the six-month extension period to prepare for any of the possible outcomes Haiti's TPS designation.
Please read our full article on the USCIS's recommendation to terminate TPS for Haiti for more information [see article].