As published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2015, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation was extended for Somalian nationals currently living in the United States.  Somalia’s TPS extension and re-designation is for an additional 18 months, from September 15, 2015 through March 17, 2017.  This action was taken after the Secretary of Homeland Security determined the ongoing armed conflict in Somalia posed a substantial threat to living conditions in the country.  Employers should alert all company representatives responsible for the completion of I-9 forms about this development.

TPS Extension and Re-Designation

A country can be designated for TPS due to temporary conditions in the country that prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  Individuals granted TPS benefits are not removable from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) to work in the United States, and may be granted travel authorization to travel outside the United States.  The granting of TPS does not, however, result in or lead to permanent resident status.

Somalia was initially designated under the TPS provisions in 1991, with re-designation in 2001 and 2012.  The announced extension of TPS designation for Somalia for an additional 18 months, from September 15, 2015 through March 17, 2017, allows current TPS beneficiaries from Somalia to retain TPS through March 17, 2017, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS.

For individuals who have already been granted TPS under one of the previous designations, the 60-day re-registration period runs from June 1, 2015 through July 31, 2015.  USCIS will issue new EADs with a March 17, 2017 expiration date to eligible Somalia TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension.  DHS is NOT granting interim work permission through an automatic extension of work authorization, so applicants should file their EAD renewal applications as soon as possible before their current EADs expire in September 2015.

Certain individuals of Somalia who have never applied for TPS may be able to apply under the late initial registration provisions, as long as they (a) can satisfy one of the late initial filing criteria; and (b) meet all TPS eligibility criteria.