el salvador shutterstock_155055182Through a recent publication of the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador effective Sept. 10, 2016, through March 9, 2018.   The extension allows eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 9, 2018, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Individuals with TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from July 8, 2016, through Sept. 6, 2016.   The 18-month extension allows TPS re-registrants from El Salvador to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Those applicants who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of March 9, 2018.  USCIS is also automatically extending current El Salvador TPS EADs with a Sept. 9, 2016, expiration date for six months. These existing EADs are now valid through March 9, 2017, as USCIS recognizes that re-registrants may not receive a new EAD card before the current EAD expires.

Employers should alert all company representatives responsible for the completion of the I-9 process about this development, as employers may often be unsure about how to complete and/or re-verify the I-9 form for individuals holding TPS work authorization. Employers must accept a TPS-related EAD that is expired on its face if it nevertheless remains unexpired based on an automatic extension of the EAD by DHS.

To qualify for El Salvador TPS, the applicant must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be a national of El Salvador, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador;
  • File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of El Salvador’s TPS designation;
  • Maintain continuous physical presence in the United States since March 9, 2001; and
  • Reside continuously in the United States since Feb. 13, 2001.

Applicants over the age of 14 must also undergo security checks, and those with a criminal record or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. Applicants may also request a fee waiver from USCIS from the application by submitting the appropriate request.

If you have never been granted TPS, you may be eligible to file a late initial application. Go to the “Filing Late” section on the TPS website for more information.