In the most recent publication of the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced El Salvador’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is being extended for 18 months, from March 10, 2015, through Sept. 9, 2016. The extension allows eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through Sept. 9, 2016, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements. Employers should alert all company representatives responsible for the completion of the I-9 process about this development, as employers are often unsure about how to complete and/or re-verify the I-9 form for individuals holding TPS work authorization.

There are some key dates to consider. For individuals already holding TPS under the El Salvador designation, the 60-day re-registration period runs from Jan. 7, 2015 through March 9, 2015. USCIS will issue new Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with a Sept. 9, 2016, expiration date to those who re-register timely. The agency also announced that in recognition of the reality that some registrants will not be processed before the expiration of their current EADs on March 9, 2015, USCIS is automatically extending the validity period for EADs issued under this TPS designation through Sept. 9, 2015, by operation of the notice in the Federal Register.

The past few months have been a particularly busy period in the realm of TPS. Recalling Greenberg Traurig’s recent post, the Secretary expanded the TPS program to cover nationals of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa around Thanksgiving. And while the TPS program admirably provides a form of humanitarian aid during a time of crisis, a more critical challenge will be what will become of the designees when their corresponding TPS protections are terminated and they are expected to return to their countries of origin—perhaps after spending significant time in the United States and building a new and different life for themselves.

For further information regarding this extension, individuals may contact the TPS Operations Program Manager at the Family and Status Branch, Service Center Operations Directorate, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at (202) 272-1533. Applicants desiring a status update on their individual cases may check at Case Status Online at http://www.uscis.gov/.