The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended and redesignated South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), from November 4, 2023 through May 3, 2025. The initial registration period for new TPS applicants will run from September 6, 2023 through May 3, 2025. Eligible individuals will also be able to apply for TPS-related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission during this time. Current South Sudanese TPS beneficiaries who wish to extend their benefits will be required to re-register by November 6, 2023. Those with expiring TPS EADs will receive an automatic EAD extension, through November 3, 2024. DHS is also extending the relaxation of certain employment authorization rules for South Sudanese students in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the crisis in South Sudan.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended and redesignated South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from November 4, 2023 through May 3, 2025, according to a notice published in today’s Federal Register. Current South Sudanese TPS beneficiaries will have 60 days, from September 6, 2023 through November 6, 2023, to request an 18-month extension of status and work authorization. New applicants will have from September 6, 2023 through May 3, 2025 to apply for initial TPS status and related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission.
DHS has determined that conditions in South Sudan warrant continued and renewed Temporary Protected Status (TPS), due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent South Sudanese nationals from safely returning to their country.
Relatedly, DHS is also extending the relaxation of certain employment authorization rules for South Sudanese nationals in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the continuing crisis in South Sudan.
TPS eligibility and application process for new applicants
Newly eligible South Sudanese nationals can apply for initial TPS status if they can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since September 4, 2023, and continuous physical presence in the United States since November 4, 2023. Applicants must file a Form I-821 application with appropriate fee(s) (or request for fee waiver) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the initial registration period, which runs from September 6, 2023 through May 3, 2025. Applicants may also apply for EADs and travel authorization during this time, by submitting the corresponding forms and fee(s) or fee waiver request. TPS and its related work authorization will be approved with a May 3, 2025 expiration date.
Individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility. Biometrics collection (fingerprinting) is generally required for applicants ages 14 and older.
Re-registration process for current TPS holders
Current South Sudanese TPS beneficiaries can continue to extend their status and work authorization provided that they previously registered for TPS under the designation of South Sudan and their application was granted.
- Who may re-register: Re-registration is limited to those who previously registered for and were granted TPS under the designation for South Sudan.
- When to re-register: Current South Sudanese TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821 to USCIS between September 6, 2023 and November 6, 2023.
- Extending employment authorization: Beneficiaries who wish to extend their employment authorization must also submit a timely Form I-765 application for an employment authorization document (EAD) and the applicable fees (or a fee waiver application).
- Pending TPS and/or EAD applications from prior registration period: There is no need for a foreign national with a pending TPS and/or EAD application to file a second application in order to benefit from the extension. For applications that are pending when the re-registration period begins on September 6, 2023, approval notices and document expiration dates will reflect the latest expiration date of May 3, 2025.
- Automatic EAD extensions: As DHS recognizes that re-registrants may not receive new EADs before their current cards expire, the agency is providing an automatic extension, through November 3, 2024, for EADs bearing a Category code of A-12 or C-19 and an expiration date of November 3, 2023. The Federal Register notice provides specific instructions on proper completion of an I-9 form to reflect an automatically extended TPS EAD.
Extension of relaxed employment options for certain South Sudanese students in F-1 status
Separately, DHS is extending its relaxation of certain employment authorization rules for South Sudanese students in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the crisis in South Sudan. The relaxed employment authorization rules for such students, which were set to expire on November 3, 2023, have been extended through May 3, 2025.
Under the relaxed rules, qualifying South Sudanese F-1 students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load, while continuing to maintain their F-1 nonimmigrant student status. DHS will deem students who obtain employment authorization under this policy to be engaged in a “full course of study” if the student maintains the minimum course load requirements described in the Federal Register notice extending the policy.
To qualify, F-1 students must establish that they:
- Are citizens of South Sudan (or individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan);
- Were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on September 6, 2023;
- Are enrolled in an academic institution that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified;
- Are currently maintaining F-1 status; and
- Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current crisis in South Sudan.
F-1 students who receive authorization from their Designated School Official (DSO) to work off campus may apply for an EAD by submitting the required application form and corresponding fee (or fee waiver request). F-1 students employed on campus do not need to apply for an EAD but do require DSO authorization.
The extension and redesignation of TPS for South Sudan means that beneficiaries who submit a timely application and receive an approval may continue to work and remain in the United States through May 3, 2025. Prior to the conclusion of the 18-month extension, DHS will review conditions to determine whether the TPS designation for South Sudan should be extended again or terminated.
South Sudanese nationals in F-1 status should contact their school’s DSO to determine whether they can avail themselves of the relaxed employment authorization standards.