TPS re-registration period for Honduras and Nicaragua comes to an end

On November 3, 2011, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Honduras and Nicaragua. USCIS also informed that the deadline to re-register for TPS is Thursday, January 5, 2012.

In my "Migratory Consultation" column this week in La OpiniónI explain how to re-register for TPS to remain protected by the program.

Here is the text of the column:

The re-registration period for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Honduras and Nicaragua is three days away. The last day to register is January 5, 2012.

Hondurans and Nicaraguans eligible for re-registration will be able to remain lawfully in the United States for another 18 months from January 6, 2012 through July 5, 2013. The validity of work permits under TPS that expire on January 5, 2012 will be automatically extended until July 5, 2012, while applications are processed.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), during the last TPS registration period, approximately 69,000 people registered, most of them Hondurans. However, by early December 2011, just over 29,000 people had re-registered.

I recommend that you file electronically (e-filing). This way you will get an immediate receipt and avoid the possibility of the application getting lost in the mail. This option is not available for late initial enrollment or late re-enrollment.

The costs for re-registration are $85 for fingerprinting (children under 14 are exempt) and $380 for a work permit, if needed.

Make sure that the information is complete and correct, that the form is signed and that the money you send is the amount stipulated by USCIS, otherwise the application will be rejected. USCIS reports that these kinds of errors cause more than 5% of applications to be rejected.

If you cannot afford 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.

If there is a force majeure reason that prevents you from re-registering on time, USCIS will accept late applications. Late applications must be accompanied by evidence of "good cause" for failure to file by January 5, 2012.

Remember that TPS is not a permanent residence in the United States. Upon termination of the program, you will return to the immigration status you had before, such as being undocumented. Consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate your legal options for permanent residency.