The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has redesignated and extended South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This designation grants qualifying individuals temporary protection from removal and an additional 18 months of employment authorization. Eligible individuals include those unable to return to South Sudan due to the ongoing armed conflict. Other temporary and extraordinary conditions qualify as well.
According to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, “Through the extension and redesignation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, the United States will continue to offer safety and protection to South Sudanese nationals who may not be able to return to their country due to the ongoing armed conflict and humanitarian crisis. We will continue to offer our support to South Sudanese nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”
The DHS’s Federal Register Notice explained the TPS extension. According to the notice, the extension will go from November 4, 2023, through May 3, 2025. The DHS estimates that approximately 133 current beneficiaries will benefit from this extension. However, they must continue meeting the requirements to retain it. The DHS is also redesignating South Sudan for TPS. As such, an estimated 140 additional South Sudanese could apply for TPS under the new designation.
Those who previously registered and received TPS under South Sudan’s previous designation may re-register during the 60-day re-registration period. The timeframe is between September 6, 2023, and November 6, 2023. For those filing an initial registration, qualifying applicants may submit their forms from September 6 through May 3, 2025.
Individuals interested in qualifying for TPS under this designation must prove their South Sudanese nationality. Those without nationality must show they last habitually resided in South Sudan and have lived in the U.S. since September 4, 2023. Those without nationality must also show they will maintain a physical presence to November 4, 2023.
After establishing nationality or residency, interested individuals may file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765). They may include this form with the initial application or submit it later. This form allows individuals to receive employment authorization documents (EADs) to continue or begin working in the United States.
Some individuals may not receive a new EAD before their current documents expire. The DHS understands this dilemma and explained that EADs granted by South Sudan’s TPS designation will automatically extend to have expiring dates through November 3, 2024. As such, TPS-designated EADs will continue working in the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.
Employers must reverify these EAD holders’ work authorization upon their initial expiration. When verifying these documents, they may check the “Card Expires” date and Category Code. This step allows them to update the EAD expiration date to match the automatic extension.
Many employers may struggle to keep up with the I-9 process as these developments continue. One of the best ways to remain compliant is to incorporate an electronic I-9 management tool into the onboarding and reverification process. This tool can guide personnel through every step, provide reminders, and utilize digital storage that keeps documentation safe.
When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.