In response to the overwhelming destruction caused by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced that Haitian nationals in this country prior to January 12, 2010, would be eligible to obtain Temporary Protected Status ("TPS"). TPS status will allow them to stay here until the U.S. government considers it safe to return to Haiti. Eligible Haitians have 180 days to register, and the TPS status designation they will obtain will be valid for 18 months. TPS applicants will have to pay the normal filing fees for Form I-821 and any ancillary benefits, such as work and travel authorization, unless they are eligible for a fee waiver.
USCIS also issued instructions for U.S. citizens in the process of adopting Haitian orphans. If adopting parents were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, they can visit the American embassy to process the adoption application, and the Haitian government will waive the exit visa requirement. Both the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") and the Department of State ("DOS") are still working on the issues related to adoptions by parents not in Haiti. If the adoptive parents are in the United States, DHS and DOS strongly urge them not to travel to Haiti at this time.