Haitian Nationals Given Six Month Extension
WASHINGTON U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that eligible Haitian nationals will have an additional 180 days to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a relief program launched in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. The new registration deadline is January 18, 2011.
Since the earthquake, USCIS has maintained an ongoing dialogue with Haitian community leaders and advocates, and we have heard that many Haitians need more time to apply for TPS, said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. Extending the registration period will afford more eligible individuals a chance to remain safely in the United States at this time of crisis and devastation in Haiti.
TPS registration permits eligible Haitian nationals to continue living in the United States and to obtain work authorization for the duration of the program. Since the TPS program began, USCIS has conducted extensive outreach to communicate its important benefits and to provide clear information about the application process. USCIS continues to encourage eligible Haitians to apply for TPS as soon as possible before the January 18, 2011, registration deadline. Waivers of the application fees are available to those who can demonstrate an inability to pay.
In conversations with the public, USCIS has heard many reasons that eligible individuals have not yet applied for TPS. Due to the devastation in Haiti, some individuals may have had difficulty obtaining documents needed for the TPS application process. Others may need further opportunity to gather funds for the application fees or to learn about the process for fee waivers. Extending the registration period will provide those individuals with additional time needed to prepare their applications.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano designated Haiti for TPS for an 18-month period beginning on January 21, 2010. The designation applies to Haitians who have continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2010, when the earthquake occurred; Haitian nationals who first entered the United States after that date are not eligible. Further details are available in the Federal Register Notice published by the Department of Homeland Security on January 21, 2010.
For TPS information and application forms, please visit www.uscis.gov or call the toll-free USCIS Forms line at 1-800-870-3676.