On May 22, 2017, TPS for Haiti was extended for six months, which means this status now expires on January 22, 2018. However, the official notice urges beneficiaries to use this six month extension to prepare for their return to Haiti in the event that TPS for Haiti is not extended again. Here’s what beneficiaries can and should do next.
1. Renew your existing TPS status
If you currently have TPS, you should apply to re-register by July 24, 2017 to avoid a lapse in status. TPS beneficiaries who re-register may request a new work card; and those who re-register during the 60-day re-registration period may receive an automatic extension of their expiring work card, and will receive a new work card with an expiration date of January 22, 2018. The fee to renew your TPS status and work authorization is $495, and a fee waiver is available if you cannot afford this fee.
2. Speak to an immigration lawyer about your options
One of the most common questions TPS beneficiaries ask is whether they can change their status to get a green card. The answer depends on how you entered the United States before you obtained TPS and how you can apply to get a green card. Generally, in order to get a green card, you must have been admitted or paroled into the United States. This basically means that you had permission to be to the United States. This could be through a visitor’s visa or being granted humanitarian parole. So if you came to the United States with a visitor’s visa then got TPS, you would likely qualify to change your status to get a green card.
If you came to the United States without permission and then later got TPS, you are not eligible to adjust your status unless you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, or Tennessee. If you came to the United States without permission and obtained TPS and you live outside of these states, you could qualify to adjust your status if you leave the United States and reenter through advance parole. For example, if you have TPS, you can request advance parole, leave the United States and reenter. When you come re-enter, this will count as being admitted to the United States and you’ll be able to adjust your status. Not everyone should pursue this option because it can be risky, especially if you were out of status before getting TPS. Before pursuing this option, please speak to an immigration lawyer to determine your risk factor.
One of the most common ways to get a green card is through a family member. The chart below explains who may petition for a green card. For example, if you are a U.S. citizen, you can petition for your brother or sister to get a green card.
3. Apply to adjust your status before January 22, 2018
If you are eligible to adjust your status, it is very important to submit your application before your status expires. While doing so doesn’t give you status, having a pending application can protect you in certain situations, such as deportation cases.
For more information about TPS for Haiti, check out What’s Really Going On With TPS for Haiti.
If you have questions about TPS or whether you qualify to adjust your status, please don’t hesitate to contact us.