DHS Publishes Federal Register Notice to Redesignate and Extend TPS and Employment Authorization for Somalia

March 23, 2023

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a Federal Registrar notice extending and predesignating Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. This status extends from March 18, 2023, to September 17, 2024. In addition, the notice supplies information on how individuals can register for TPS under this re-designation.

The registration process starts on March 13, 2023. Individuals wanting TPS under Somalia’s re-designation must apply. This extension for Somalia will allow about 430 current beneficiaries to keep their status through September 17, 2024. However, they must re-register and continue meeting the requirements to maintain eligibility for TPS.

Eligibility requirements include the following: being a Somali national; an individual who habitually resided in Somalia, now residing in the U.S. since January 11, 2023, and physically present since March 18, 2023. The re-designation will allow for approximately 2,200 of these individuals to apply if they meet the other requirements.

Only individuals previously registered and granted TPS under Somalia’s last designation can re-register. Current individuals who are beneficiaries under TPS for Somalia must re-register promptly during the 60-day re-registration period. They can re-register from March 13, 2023, through May 9, 2023, to ensure they retain their status and work authorization. The DHS has acknowledged that some re-registrants may not receive their new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before their existing EAD expires. As such, the DHS will automatically extend the validity of some previously issued EADs under Somalia’s TPS designation.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also continue processing pending applications filed under the prior TPS designation for Somalia. Anyone with a pending Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) or an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) does not have to refile. After approving one of these pending forms filed under the previous TPS designation for Somalia, the USCIS will grant the person TPS through September 17, 2024. In addition, the USCIS will issue an EAD valid through this date as well.

If eligible individuals do not have TPS, they may file an initial Form I-821 during the initial registration period. This period will be from March 13, 2023, through September 17, 2024. Applicants may apply for a TPS-related EAD and travel authorization as well. Applicants can either submit Form I-765 with Form I-821 or submit it later. Otherwise, the Federal Register notice explains what current beneficiaries need to do to register, what new applicants need to do to submit an initial application under the re-designation, and how to apply for an EAD.

Employers that hire individuals with TPS status must complete the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9). This step can be confusing due to the different documentation the individuals may present. The best way to complete Form I-9 correctly is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This system guides employers through the entire process helping to ensure the form is completed correctly, thus avoiding potentially costly mistakes.

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