Yemen Re-Designated for TPS (Effective March 4, 2017)

 

Introduction

On January 4, 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security redesignated Yemen for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the TPS designation for an additional 18 months, from March 4, 2017, through September 3, 2018 [see news release]. The decision was published in the Federal Register (FR) at 82 FR 859 (Jan. 4, 2017) [PDF version]. The rule will take effect on March 4, 2017.

In this article, we will rely on the USCIS posting and the FR notice to examine what the DHS's decision means for eligible nationals from Yemen. Please see our full article to learn about the initial designation of Yemen for TPS [see article]. To learn about TPS generally, please see our collection of articles on the subject [see category].

Overview

The FR register notice applies to two classes of nationals of Yemen, or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen, who are present in the United States. First, the notice will allow those who are already on TPS to re-register for TPS. Second, qualifying individuals who are not already on TPS may apply for TPS within the new registration period. The USCIS news release provides a useful chart that sets forth the scenarios. We have reproduced the chart below for your convenience:

Who is Eligible Current TPS Status When to File
Current TPS beneficiaries from Yemen Have TPS To extend your TPS, you must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from Jan. 4, 2017, through March 6, 2017.

Yemeni nationals and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen, who have:

  • Continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 4, 2017; and
  • Been continuously physically present in the United States since March 4, 2017.
Do not have TPS To obtain TPS, you may apply for TPS during the 180-day initial registration period that runs from Jan. 4, 2017, through July 3, 2017.

 

Source: USCIS, “DHS Announces 18-Month Resignation and Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Yemen,” uscis.gov/news, (Jan. 4, 2017)

Re-Registering for Yemen TPS

A beneficiary of Yemen TPS who is seeking to extend his or her TPS must re-register for TPS during the 60-day re-registration period for Yemen TPS that runs from January 4, 2017, to March 6, 2017. Individuals seeking to re-register for TPS are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

An individual who is re-registering for TPS has the option of applying for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in conjunction with the TPS application. If approved, the new EAD will have an expiration date of September 3, 2018. Because the USCIS recognizes that not all re-registratnts will receive their new EADs before their current EADs expire, the USCIS is automatically extending the validity of current Yemen TPS-related EADs with an expiration date of March 3, 2017, for an additional 6 months. That means that the current Yemen TPS-related EADs will be valid until September 3, 2017. Individuals may use a copy of the FR notice as evidence to show employers that they are still authorized for employment under a TPS EAD with an expiration date of March 3, 2017.

The USCIS explains that the following documentation must be submitted to re-register for TPS:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (fee not required for re-registrants);
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (fee or fee waiver request required if re-registrant is seeking an EAD, no fee required if the re-registrant is not seeking an EAD);
  • Biometric services fee (or fee-waiver request) for re-registrants age 14 or older.

Applying for Yemen TPS for the First Time

Because Yemen is being re-designated for TPS, qualifying individuals will have the opportunity to make an initial application for TPS.

In order to be eligible to make an initial application for Yemen TPS, the individual must be a national of Yemen or a person of no nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen. The individual may not currently be on TPS. The individual must have continuously resided in the United States since January 4, 2017, and must have been continuously present in the United States since March 4, 2017, in order for the application to be approved. Please see our main article on TPS to learn about more general eligibility requirements [see article]. The application must be filed during the 180-day initial registration period that runs from January 4, 2017, to July 3, 2017.

An individual seeking an initial grant of TPS must submit the following:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (with fee or a fee waiver request);
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (with fee or a fee waiver request if the applicant is seeking an EAD and is 14-65 years old; no fee required for those under 14 or older than 66 who are seeking an EAD with an initial application; and no fee required if the applicant is not seeking an EAD); and
  • Biometric services fee (or fee waiver request) if the applicant is age 14 or older.

Individuals With Pending Initial Yemen TPS Applications Under Yemen's Initial Designation

If an individual's application for TPS from Yemen's initial designation period is still pending, he or she will not be required to submit a new Form I-821. However, if the individual currently has a TPS-related EAD, and is seeking another EAD, he or she must submit the following:

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (with fee or fee waiver request, regardless of age); and
  • Copy of receipt notice showing that the initial Form I-821 is still pending.

Fee Waiver Request

An applicant may request a fee waiver of any applicable fees connected with a TPS application by filing the Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver or by otherwise submitting a written request [see article].

The FR notice at page 862-63 explains that individuals whose applications are denied because of the denial of a fee waiver request will generally be able to resubmit their application packets before the filing deadlines.

If the applicant receives his or her denial of an initial TPS application with fewer than 45 days until the deadline, the USCIS will allow the applicant to refile his or her application within 45 days of the denial of the fee waiver request. This means in such a case, the USCIS will accept the application even if it is filed after the deadline, provided that it is refiled within 45 days of the fee waiver denial notice.

If a re-registrant's application is denied due to the denial of a fee waiver, and the re-registrant refiles the application with fee after the re-registration deadline, the USCIS will review the application to determine if the applicant established good cause for the late filing. The USCIS encourages re-registrant applicants to re-file within 45 days of the fee waiver denial notice, if at all possible.

Fee waivers are reserved for those who have a legitimate inability to pay. Please see our full article about establishing eligibility for a fee waiver to learn the rules for this process [see article].

Mailing a TPS Application

Electronic filing is not available for TPS applications. TPS application packets must always be sent by mail. The following is the mailing information for TPS application packets (see 82 FR 863):

If… Mail to…

You are applying through the U.S. Postal Service

You are using a non-U.S. Postal Service delivery service

USCIS, Attn: TPS Yemen, P.O. Box 7555, Chicago, IL 60680-6943.

USCIS, Attn: TPS Yemen, 131 S. Dearborn, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60603-5517.

 

If an individual was granted TPS by an Immigration Judge (IJ) or by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and if he or she wishes to either request an EAD or re-register for TPS after an initial grant of TPS from an IJ or the BIA, he or she should use the appropriate mailing address on the above table. The FR notice encourages such individuals to include a copy of the IJ or BIA order granting TPS with the application packet. This is because the USCIS “may not have received records” of the initial grant of TPS by an IJ or by the BIA.

Conclusion

The decision to not only extend Yemen TPS but to also re-designate Yemen for TPS will give many nationals of Yemen the opportunity to apply for an initial period of TPS. A person seeking TPS is well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to better understand the eligibility requirements and for assistance in completing the application process. Likewise, individuals on TPS may consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on maintaining TPS, maintaining a separate nonimmigrant status simultaneously with TPS, and in seeking a more permanent U.S. immigration path than TPS. Please see our full section of articles on TPS to learn about many issues related to the subject [see category].