** LEGAL UPDATE **
On July 19, 2018 U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielson announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) would be extended for Somalians in the United States. Under this extension, Somalians who have TPS will be authorized to remain in the U.S. for the subsequent 18 months, until March 17, 2020.
TPS allows citizens and nationals of certain countries to remain lawfully in the U.S. with a work permit for a designated period of time. Countries are selected for TPS protection due to natural disasters, armed conflict, or other conditions that make it dangerous for its nationals to return. The Secretary of DHS can issue TPS protection for up to 18 months and can choose to extend it as many times as deemed necessary.
Somalia has been designated for TPS since September 16, 1991 and has been extended since then due to ongoing armed conflict.
Somalia is one of the few countries that has had TPS extended under the Trump administration and there are now only four countries—Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—that have not had TPS terminated. The administration has announced termination of TPS for the countries of El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sudan and Honduras.
The reregistration period for Somalians with TPS has not been announced yet. If you currently have TPS from Somalia you should actively monitor the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for information on when the reregistration period opens.
Once the registration period begins, you will have 60 days to register to continue your TPS. It is important to file as soon as possible when the registration period opens so as to ensure that USCIS accepts your application in time.
Until your new EAD card arrives, you may continue to use your previous TPS Employment Authorization (EAD) card, by presenting it along with a copy of the Federal Register notice announcing the extension of TPS for Somalia.
While TPS has been extended for Somalia, the number of countries designated for TPS has been reduced drastically since the beginning of the Trump administration. The number of beneficiaries with TPS will soon fall from more than 310,000 at the beginning of the administration to less than 10,000.
For this reason, it is important for Somalians with TPS to consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible to advise on more permanent forms of immigration status, given that further TPS extensions for Somalians are far from secure.
Effective Date: July 19, 2018