DHS Extends TPS Status for Syria and Expands Employment Opportunities for Syrian F-1 Students

September 28, 2022

Syria has been re-designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This status extended from October 1, 2022, through March 31, 2024. New TPS applicants can apply for this status during the initial registration period from August 1, 2022, to March 31, 2024. Eligible individuals can also apply for TPS-related employment authorization documents (EADs) and permission to travel during this period. Both the TPS and the work authorization will have an expiration date of March 31, 2024.

Syrian nationals who recently become eligible for TPS can apply by showing that they have maintained continuous residency in the United States since July 28, 2022, and that they have been physically present in the United States since October 1, 2022. In addition, they must file a Form I-821 application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pay the filing fee or request a fee waiver by submitting a request for a fee waiver (Form I-912).

Anyone applying for TPS will undergo security and background checks. Additionally, 14 years and older applicants will typically be subject to biometrics collection.

Syrians who already have TPS will need to re-register by September 30, 2022, if they want their benefits extended. However, for Syrians with EADs that expire on September 30, 2022, or at some specified earlier dates. The EADs will automatically extend through September 30, 2023.

Syrians who want to re-register for TPS must have been registered for and previously granted TPS under the designation for Syria. These individuals must submit Form I-821 to USCIS from August 1, 2022, through September 30, 2022. TPS beneficiaries who want to extend their employment authorization must submit a Form I-765 application with the appropriate fees or a fee waiver to obtain EADs.

Foreign nationals with a pending TPS or EAD application do not need to file another application to obtain an automatic extension. Therefore, approval notices and expiration dates for pending applications as of the start of the re-registration period on August 1 will show an expiration date of March 31, 2024.

Some re-registering individuals may not receive their new EADs before their current card expires. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is automatically extending EADs that have a Category code of A-12 or C-19 and an expiration date of either: September 30, 2022; March 31, 2021; September 30, 2019; or March 31, 2018, through September 30, 2023. On August 1, 2022, the Federal Register notice provided instructions for completing Form I-9 to indicate an automatically extended TPS or EAD.

Additionally, the DHS stated that it would suspend some employment authorization rules for Syrian students who are in F-1 status and suffering severe economic hardship due to the civil war in Syria. As a result, qualifying students will be allowed to request work authorization and work more hours when school is in session, decreasing their course load while still keeping a designation of “full course of study.” However, to qualify, F-1 students are required to show that they:

  • Are a citizen of Syria regardless of country of birth (or an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria);
  • Were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(F)(i), on the date of publication of this notice;
  • Are enrolled in an academic institution that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified for enrollment for F-1 nonimmigrant students;
  • Are currently maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status; and
  • Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil war in Syria.

The DHS first put special accommodations for Syrian F-1 students in 2012. This extension will start on October 1, 2022, and remain in effect until April 1, 2024. This latest re-designation action and extension of TPS for Syria will allow beneficiaries who submit their application promptly and have it approved to stay in the United States and continue to work through March 31, 2024, which is good for them and their employers.

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