Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Granted to Haitians in the United States

Late last week, under mounting pressure from humanitarian groups, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians living in the United States, allowing them to remain here for the next 18 months without fear of deportation, provided that they submit a timely application for TPS, and are eventually approved. DHS determined it was necessary to grant TPS because the recent earthquake in Haiti makes it unsafe for Haitian nationals to return home. According to DHS, between 100,000 and 200,000 Haitians will be eligible for TPS. (See: Temporary Protected Status – Haiti)

Haitian nationals seeking TPS must provide documentation to prove:

  • they are a national of Haiti (or a person without nationality who last habitually resided there), e.g., via a Haitian passport or birth certificate;
  • they have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 12, 2010; and
  • they have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the date of the Federal Register Notice publication.

Additional supporting documentation may be required. Haitian TPS applicants also must not be inadmissable, and they must submit a timely and complete application to USCIS.

According to USCIS, all Haitian TPS applicants should file both an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) and an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), along with the appropriate fees or a request for a fee waiver. It costs $50 to file an I-821, and TPS applicants aged 14 and over also must pay an $80 biometric fee. Applicants seeking employment authorization must pay an additional $340. Those who can document their inability to pay may be eligible for a fee waiver, based on evidence of household income that is below federal poverty guidelines, or of humanitarian grounds such as disability, homelessness or age.

TPS is not available to convicted felons, or those convicted of two or more misdemeanors in the United States. Applicants who are subject to various other criminal and security-related bars to asylum are also ineligible, including those who have persecuted other people, or participated in or incited terrorist activities.

No Haitian TPS applications can be filed until USCIS publishes notice of the program in the Federal Register, which is expected to be issued shortly. Applications must be filed by mail within 180 days of the Federal Register notice. Further information is available on the USCIS WebSite (see link above), or by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283, or 1-800-767-1833 for TTY users.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.