Do you have TPS and were denied renewal of your driver's license?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® explains how people on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can avoid being discriminated against in their jobs or when trying to obtain or renew their driver's licenses.

Here is some general information. Please consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any proceedings.

This is the column:

Salvadorans who have applied to renew their TPS are once again having difficulties with employers and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Already, several people in different parts of the country have contacted me to report problems they are suffering.

Without the new work permits, some employers have terminated Salvadorans whose documents expire on March 9, and the DMV in several states is denying driver's license renewals for the same reason.

It is unfortunate that employers and the DMV are acting erroneously, because although the physical document has a current expiration date of March 9, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) automatically extended its validity until September 9, 2015. This was announced in the Federal Register Notice and on its own website.

USCIS requires several months to process the more than 200,000 TPS re-registration applications and employment authorization documents (EADs).

Hondurans and Nicaraguans in TPS, whose re-registration period ended on December 15, 2014, have also experienced similar problems. Their work permits with an expiration date of January 5, 2015 received an automatic extension until July 5, 2015, while they wait for their new documents.

Tips for people in TPS

The automatic extension of work permits only applies to people who have re-registered for TPS and are awaiting their new documents.

If you have not yet re-registered for TPS, you should do so immediately by filing for late re-registration with USCIS. Consult with an immigration attorney before you begin the process.

If you have not yet received your new work permit, when you go to the DMV to renew your driver's license you must bring a copy of the Federal Register notice, a copy of your TPS renewal application and receipts from USCIS, and your work permit with an expiration date of March 9, 2015 (Salvadorans) or January 5, 2015 (Hondurans and Nicaraguans).

If you are having problems at your job, you will need to show those same documents to your employer. That should be enough to keep you from getting fired.

If employers or government offices refuse to see your documents, or say that they are not valid, contact the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices Helpline (OSC) The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 1-800-255-7688, and your country's consulate.

In addition, I recommend that they submit a Complaint Form with the OSC.

Finally, please send me an email to with your information, so that I can collect and monitor cases.

Federal Register notices can be found at the following websites:

El Salvador



Tips for employers and government offices

Every employer and government office must be aware of the law to avoid committing acts of discrimination against persons in TPS. Generally, a person or institution that is unaware of a law cannot escape liability for violating that law simply because the person or entity was unaware of its contents.

The following information will help you better understand TPS and the legal protections available to beneficiaries of this humanitarian immigration program:

OSC Toll-Free Helpline for Employers and Government Offices


Temporary Protected Status Workers: Protecting Your Right to Work


TPS for El Salvador

TPS for Honduras

TPS for Nicaragua

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

Send your questions to Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Westlake South Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For information on how to consult with Dr. Castillo, click here. click here.

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.