The Department of Homeland Security has said it will terminate the Temporary Protected Status designation for Nicaragua in January of 2019. The agency also said it will extend the TPS designation for Honduras, but only for a six-month period while it seeks additional information on whether continuation of the status is justified.

Key points:

  • In a statement Monday, DHS said that Acting Secretary Elaine Duke determined that the conditions for which Nicaragua’s TPS status was initially granted no longer exist. The agency granted a 12-month extension to provide for an “orderly transition,” and the TPS designation for Nicaragua is now set to expire Jan. 5, 2019. DHS said Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries should “seek an alternative lawful immigration status” if available and, if not, should arrange to leave the U.S.
  • Duke said the agency needed more time to make a decision on Honduras. In the meantime, DHS will provide a six-month TPS extension through July 5, 2018. DHS said “it is possible that the TPS designation for Honduras will be terminated at the end of the six-month automatic extension with an appropriate delay.”
  • Existing Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who want to extend their benefits must apply for an extension of TPS and an employment authorization document. Additional information is expected to be published soon in the Federal Register.

Background: Monday’s announcement follows reports last week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated to DHS that the TPS designations for Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti are no longer necessary. DHS has yet to make any announcements on El Salvador or Haiti, but announcements are expected soon given that TPS designations are set to expire for Haiti in January and for El Salvador in March.

BAL Analysis: DHS is advising Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries to apply for other visas or arrange to leave the U.S. by January of 2019. The agency also signaled that it may move to end the TPS designation for Honduras next summer, but it would likely provide a similar transition period.