DHS Designates Sudan for TPS; Expands Employment Options for Sudanese Students
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has designated Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from April 19, 2022 through October 19, 2023. The registration period for eligible individuals to submit TPS applications will run from April 19, 2022 through October 19, 2023. Eligible individuals will also be able to apply for TPS-related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission during this time. Sudanese beneficiaries who received TPS under the previous designation, which was slated for termination by the Trump Administration and which is the subject of ongoing litigation, are encouraged to submit new applications under the latest designation. DHS has also announced that it will suspend certain employment authorization rules for Sudanese students in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current crisis in Sudan.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has designated Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from April 19, 2022 through October 19, 2023. According to a Federal Register notice that will be published tomorrow, the designation will permit eligible Sudanese nationals and those with no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan to file for TPS status and for related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission. DHS and the Department of State have deemed the designation warranted due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
Sudanese TPS beneficiaries who received TPS in connection with the prior designation and have been able to continue their status in accordance with court orders are encouraged to submit new applications under the latest designation. All applicants, regardless of whether they have held TPS status, will have the full length of the designation period to file for TPS status and for related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission.
Relatedly, Secretary Mayorkas also announced today that DHS is suspending certain employment authorization rules for Sudanese citizens in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
Sudan was originally designated for TPS in 1997. The designation was extended several times until October 2017, when the Trump Administration announced it would terminate Sudan and several other countries from the TPS program in 2018. The announced termination continues to be the subject of ongoing challenges in federal court, with temporary extensions granted by court order to affected Sudanese nationals through December 31, 2022.
Sudanese nationals granted TPS benefits under the 1997 designation are eligible and encouraged to apply under the new TPS designation. Though DHS has said it will continue to recognize the prior grants of TPS and will continue to extend benefits under the prior designation as required by court orders, it also notes that those benefits will terminate should the court order cease to be in effect.
Under the new designation for Sudan, Sudanese nationals can apply for TPS if they can demonstrate that they have had continuous residence in the United States since March 1, 2022 and have been continuously present in the United States since April 19, 2022. 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 new designation period from April 19, 2022 through October 19, 2023. 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.
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.
Applicants who previously held TPS under the prior Sudanese designation should indicate they are filing as an “initial (first time)” applicant.
Validity of EADs issued under prior TPS designations
As announced on September 10, 2021, certain EADs issued to Sudanese nationals who were granted TPS under the 1997 designation will remain valid until December 31, 2022. As such, for Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes, through December 31, 2022, employers may continue to accept an expired TPS-related EAD issued under a prior Sudanese TPS designation, along with a copy of the September 10, 2021 Federal Register notice, an eligible expired TPS EAD, and any other required I-9 documents. The September 10, 2021 Federal Register notice provides specific instructions on proper completion of an I-9 form to reflect an automatically extended TPS EAD.
Relaxed employment authorization rules for certain Sudanese students in F-1 status
Separately, Sudanese citizens in lawful F-1 student status will benefit from relaxed employment authorization rules if they are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan. Eligible students can request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain a “full course of study” designation. To qualify, F-1 students must establish that they:
- Are Sudanese citizens (or have no nationality and last habitually resided in Sudan);
- Are lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on April 19, 2022;
- 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 Sudan.
F-1 students who receive authorization from their Designated School Officer (DSO) to work off-campus must apply for an EAD by submitting the required application form and corresponding fee. F-1 students who will be working on-campus do not need to file for an EAD, but do require DSO authorization.
Sudanese citizens who believe they qualify for TPS should file their applications without delay to take advantage of this benefit and obtain employment authorization as quickly as possible. Sudanese citizens in F-1 status should contact their school’s Designated School Official (DSO) to determine whether they can avail themselves of the relaxed employment authorization standards.