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DHS Extends and Redesignates Syria for Temporary Protected Status

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended and redesignated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from March 31, 2021 through September 30, 2022, according to a notice scheduled for publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register. Current Syrian TPS beneficiaries will have 60 days, from March 19, 2021 through May 18, 2021, to request an 18-month extension of status and work authorization. New applicants will have 180 days, from March 19, 2021 through September 15, 2021, to file TPS status and for related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission.

DHS has determined that conditions in Syria warrant continued and renewed Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the country’s citizens in the United States. The ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary conditions that prompted Syria’s initial TPS designation continue to pose a serious threat to the personal safety of its nationals should they be required to return to Syria. 

TPS eligibility and application process for new applicants

By redesignating Syria for TPS and accepting new applications, USCIS estimates that approximately 1,800 additional individuals will become eligible for the program. Syrian nationals can apply for this designation if they can demonstrate that they have had continuous residence in the United States since March 19, 2021, and that they have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 31, 2021. 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) within the 180-day registration period from March 19, 2021 through September 15, 2021. Applicants may also apply for EADs and for 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 September 30, 2022 expiration date.

All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility. Biometrics collection (fingerprints) is generally required for applicants ages 14 and older.

Re-registration process for current TPS holders

Current Syrian TPS beneficiaries can continue to extend their status and work authorization provided that they previously registered for TPS under the designation of Syria 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 Syria.
  • When to register:  Current Syrian TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821 to USCIS by May 18, 2021.
  • Extending employment authorization: Beneficiaries who wish to extend their employment authorization for 18 months must also submit a timely Form I-765 application for an employment authorization document (EAD) and the applicable fees (or a fee waiver application).
  • Automatic EAD extensions: DHS is providing an automatic 180-day extension, through September 27, 2021, for EADs bearing an expiration date of an expiration date of March 31, 2021 (for those who applied for a new EAD during the last re-registration period but have not yet received the new EAD) and an A-12 or C-19 category.
  • Pending TPS and/or EAD applications from prior registration period: If a previously filed application is approved, approval notices and document expiration dates will reflect the latest expiration date of September 30, 2022. There is no need for a foreign national to file either application again in order to benefit from the extension.

I-9 eligibility verification EAD renewals

For Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes, through September 27, employers may accept a TPS-related EAD with an expiration date of March 31, 2021, along with a copy of the March 19, 2021 Federal Register notice or a USCIS Form I-797C receipt notice indicating that the TPS-related EAD is automatically extended through September 27, 2021.

Looking ahead

The extension and redesignation of TPS for Syria means that beneficiaries who submit a timely application and receive an approval may continue to work and remain in the United States through September 30, 2022.  Prior to the conclusion of the 18-month extension, the DHS Secretary will review conditions to determine whether its TPS designation should be extended again or terminated. 

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