How Salvadorans can re-register for TPS

In my column Consulta Migratoria® explained who is eligible to re-register for El Salvador's Temporary Protected Status program, the costs and why it is important to re-register as soon as possible.

Each immigration case is different. Please consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any proceedings.

This is the column:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today officially released the following information announced the extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for El Salvador.

It is estimated that there are approximately 195,000 Salvadorans currently protected under TPS who may be eligible for TPS re-registration.

The re-registration period for Salvadorans begins today, Friday, July 8, 2016 and will end on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

If they are currently in TPS, they must re-register during this period, otherwise they may lose TPS.

Re-registration will allow them to legally remain in the United States for another 18 months from September 10, 2016 through March 9, 2018.

In addition, the validity of work permits under TPS that expire on September 9, 2016 will be automatically extended until March 9, 2017.

TPS process and costs

There is still no sign of when immigration reform may be forthcoming. Therefore, it is important that everyone eligible for TPS re-register to maintain their legal status while we wait for a change in immigration laws that will provide a definitive path to permanent residency.

To re-register, Salvadorans must submit Forms I-821 and I-765 and send the corresponding fees to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Currently, the total cost is $$465. Of that amount, $85 is for fingerprinting and $380 is for the work permit.

Applying for a work permit is optional. However, you must always send both forms to re-register for TPS. If you need the permit at a later date, you can apply for it by sending the $$380 to be processed.

If you do not have enough money to file because you are unemployed, earn below the poverty level, or receive public benefits such as Medi-Cal or food stamps, you may be eligible to apply for a fee waiver using Form I-912.

If you need to renew your work permit, submit your renewal application immediately so that USCIS will issue you a new work permit before September 9, 2016, when the current permit expires.

To avoid problems with your employer, print a copy of the official TPS extension notice to show that your work permit has been automatically extended.

A copy of the official notification for El Salvador can be found by clicking here. click here.

How criminal records affect

Individuals who have been convicted of two misdemeanors or one felony are not eligible for TPS. Examples of misdemeanors include drunk driving and committing acts of domestic violence.

Consult with an immigration attorney before submitting your re-registration if you have been arrested or found guilty of any crime, including driving without a license.

Late Initial Registration for TPS in El Salvador

Salvadorans never before registered for TPS may be eligible for late registration if they meet the proper requirements. One of the requirements is to have arrived in the United States before February 13, 2001.

Salvadorans who have recently entered the country for the first time no are eligible for TPS. However, these individuals may be eligible for other immigration benefits.

For example, certain individuals who have been victims of domestic violence may apply for asylum in the United States.

Also, certain minors may apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).

TPS is not a pathway to permanent residency

TPS is a temporary program and does not lead to permanent residency. This could only change if the U.S. Congress amends the law.

Someday, the U.S. government will determine that it is no longer necessary and will cancel the program. When that happens, every person with TPS will revert to the immigration status they had before, such as being undocumented. If you have no other legal option to stay in the United States, you will be subject to removal from the country.

It is of utmost importance that any person who is registered for TPS consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate his or her options for obtaining permanent residency in the United States.