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An Overview of Temporary Protected Status or TPS Haiti

Immigration Attorney Atlanta Jameel Manji author 1Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: June 7, 2021, Last Updated on: June 19, 2021.

As a Haitian national residing in the U.S., you may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status or TPS Haiti, which offers protection from deportation. Learn more here.

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Understanding the Basics about TPS Haiti

Haiti is currently one of several nations whose citizens are offered protection from deportation in the United States. Getting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for noncitizens who have immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti is not necessarily easy. Still, it can be done if you meet certain criteria and fill out the proper paperwork on time. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer who is aware of all relevant regulations and any changes in the law will also make the process easier. 

TPS was created by Congress in 1990 as a section of the Immigration Act, and it is arguably one of the United States’ most essential immigration programs. Its goal is to provide temporary refuge for people facing exceedingly difficult conditions in their home countries. 

 

When Is This Status Granted?

TPS permits the United States Secretary of Homeland Security to grant immigrants with temporary lawful immigration status, including the ability to work in the U.S. 

Situations in which this status may be granted include: 

  • Ongoing armed conflict
  • Environmental disaster
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions, potentially including social unrest, epidemics, human rights abuses, crippling poverty, or other situations as determined by the U.S. government

The goal of this status is not to make all Haitians living in the U.S. full citizens of the United States, but to temporarily assist them in staying safe, healthy, and financially sound while conditions in Haiti are unstable or extremely challenging. It also aids in achieving the U.S.’s abuse protection and humanitarian goals.

The three major things you gain if your TPS status is granted are:

  • You can at least temporarily stop all removal and deportation proceedings against you.
  • You receive a valid immigration status that lasts for a specified period of time.
  • You can work legally in the United States, as you are eligible to acquire a work permit.
Understanding the Basics about TPS Haiti section

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Going from Haiti TPS to Green Card

Even with Temporary Protected Status, the green card rules for Haitians are the same as other non-citizen residents of the United States of America.

Having TPS does mean you automatically get permanent resident status. You still have to become eligible for permanent residence (a.k.a. your green card) and follow the standard application process. 

As a Haitian or any other undocumented immigrant to the United States, these are some of the avenues through which you can legalize your status and become a permanent resident:

  • Green card via family
  • Green card as a special immigrant 
  • Green card through a registry
  • Green card via Asylee or Refugee status
  • Green card for crime victims and human trafficking
  • Green card for abuse victims

You can learn more about the green card eligibility categories via USCIS’s resources.

There are several requirements for each method, and they are unrelated to whether you have TPS or not. Your best course of action if you want to pursue permanent residency is to speak with an attorney who can help you understand your best path to success and work with you on the instructions for applying. 

Going from Haiti TPS to Green Card

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Immigration News TPS Haiti

Very few countries are eligible for TPS status, but Haiti happens to be one of them. At the time of this writing, Burma (Myanmar), El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen are eligible for Temporary Protected Status. 

The most recent news on TPS for Haiti was the announcement given on the 22nd of May, 2021. The Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced a new TPS designation for Haitian nationals. The new TPS designation permits Haitians (and people who resided there as their last known country) who are currently residing in the USA to file initial applications for an 18-month period.

For this to be possible, the Haitian nationals have to meet the eligibility requirements.

Temporary Protected Status only applies to the Haitian nationals already residing in the States as of May 21, 2021 — not those who plan to come to the U.S. later on.

Although Haiti’s 18-month designation hasn’t been fully effected yet, it will be published on the Federal Register notice soon. This will also offer instructions on how to apply for TPS.

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USCIS Haiti TPS: Understanding the Requirements

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS is in charge of managing issues related to immigration, deportation, green card issuing, and everything that deals with transitioning to the United States.

According to the USCIS, these are the general requirements to qualify for TPS:

  • You must not be labeled irresponsible or seen as admissible due to prior convictions of serious crimes, participating in terrorism, etc.
  • You must be from a country that is eligible for TPS (Haiti in this case), or that country must be the last place you resided.
  • You must have resided in the U.S. consistently since the date specified for your country’s TPS
  • You must have been physically present in the United States the majority of the time, pending your country’s most recent designation date.

Applying for TPS or any immigration status is sensitive. Going through USCIS processes and navigating the USCIS office may be easiest with an immigration expert by your side to walk you through it all step by step.

 

How Does TPS Renewal for Haiti Work?

As a non-American citizen who has Temporary Protected Status, the length of your status is determined by the government. TPS can be set for 6, 12, or 18 month periods of time, and the Secretary of Homeland Security decides if it will be renewed after that time period or not. They must make and announce that decision at least 60 days before the end of the TPS period, in order to give people time to plan. 

If your TPS designation expires, you automatically go back to your prior immigrant designation status. This means that you could potentially lose your right to live in the United States legally as well as lose your work authorization.

Since this obviously has huge consequences for recipients of TPS, it is important to stay up to date on the news related to it. Proactively working with an attorney can help make sure that you are aware of any upcoming changes. Your immigration attorney can also help you make a plan and take the steps to prepare for when your country’s TPS designation changes.

USCIS Haiti TPS Understanding the Requirements

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Haiti TPS Extension

Luckily for Haitians, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set the Haitian TPS designation for 18 months. This announcement was made early in 2021, and based on it, Haitians who have been physically present in the U.S. since the 21st of May are eligible for an extension.

This extension holds until the 22nd of November, 2022.

Haiti’s TPS designation had been altered many times over the years until at one point, the DHS announced its termination. But, court mandates ensured that TPS continued for approved Haitian nationals residing in the U.S.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas decided to extend Haiti’s TPS because of the challenging circumstances throughout the country, like lack of basic resources, crippling poverty, security concerns, social unrest, and others.

It is important to note that the registration period for Haiti’s TPS only lasts for 180 days, so time is of the essence when applying.

 

Important USCIS Forms: TPS Haiti

Paperwork and forms are a given when dealing with any legal matter, especially immigration matters. To file an initial TPS application or to register, you have to file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Legal guidance may come in handy for this process.

In addition to Form I-821, other forms may be required to extend your status, to terminate removal proceedings, or to pursue permanent residency (if those situations apply to you). 

If you or your loved ones need professional legal assistance to handle your case and guide you through the TPS process, contact Manji Law today or book an online consultation. In addition to providing you with personalized, top-notch service, our team is experienced with what it takes to obtain TPS.

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