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DHS announces 18month extension of TPS for El Salvador
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As part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to assist El Salvador in recovering from the devastating earthquakes that affected the nation in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have announced an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of El Salvador until September 9, 2006.

Under this extension, which is effective March 9, 2005, those who have already been granted TPS are eligible to live and work in the United States for an additional 18-months and continue to maintain their status. There are approximately 248,282 nationals of El Salvador (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who are eligible for re-registration.

Nationals of El Salvador who have been granted TPS must re-register for the 18-month extension during the 60-day re-registration period, which begins Friday, January 7, and will remain in effect for 60 days there after. The re-registration period will end Tuesday, March 8. USCIS has given TPS beneficiaries a full 60 days to re-register. However, to ensure timely scheduling for biometric collection at a USCIS Application Support Center and to prevent a lapse in employment authorization, Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries are strongly urged not to wait until the end of the re-registration period to file their application materials. In order to provide ample time for USCIS processing of EADs for the large number of Salvadoran re-registrants affected, DHS has granted an automatic six-month extension, until September 9, 2005, of the validity of EADs issued under this TPS extension for nationals of El Salvador.

Instructions for re-registering for TPS are different than in 2003 and all Salvadorans re-registering for TPS must follow the new filing instructions. Re-registration applications must either be mailed to the USCIS Lockbox addresses noted below or submitted electronically using E-filing at www.uscis.gov.

Section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant TPS to aliens in the United States who are nationals of countries that have been designated for TPS due to ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. On March 9, 2001, the Attorney General (who retained authority over TPS designations prior to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003) designated TPS for El Salvador based on the devastation resulting from a series of severe earthquakes. That designation was subsequently extended twice. The most recent extension expires on March 9, 2005. Due to continued reconstruction of infrastructure and housing damaged by the earthquakes, the U.S. Government has determined that an 18-month extension of the TPS designation is warranted because El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals.

To re-register for TPS under the extension, a TPS beneficiary must submit Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status) without the filing fee, Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with filing fee if seeking an employment authorization document, and a $70 biometrics services fee for each applicant age 14 and older. An applicant under age 14 who requests an EAD must also submit the $70 biometric services fee. All applicants seeking a new EAD, valid through September 9, 2006, must submit a $175 filing fee with Form I-765. An applicant who only seeks to re-register for TPS and does not seek an EAD need not submit the $175 filing fee for the Form I-765. Applicants may request a fee waiver in accordance with the regulations; however, the biometric services fee may not be waived. Failure to properly submit Forms I-821 and I-765 (completed in their entirety) with all applicable fees will delay processing of the application or lead to the rejection of the re-registration application Applicants are not required to submit a photograph with their re-registration material, as both photographs and fingerprints will be collected at the USCIS Application Support Center.

USCIS has published a revised Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Only Form I-821 with Revision Date 11/5/04 will be accepted. Earlier versions of this form will be rejected. The newly revised form is available on the USCIS web site at www.uscis.gov and at local USCIS offices, and via the USCIS Forms line.

Please note that the filing location has changed. Applicants should not submit applications to USCIS Service Centers. Failure to use the appropriate P.O. Box may also delay processing your TPS application.

For complete USCIS notice, click here.


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