Monday, April 2, 2012

USCIS Announces Temporary Protected Status for Syria

Due to the violent upheaval and deteriorating situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced March 29 that eligible Syrian nationals (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Details and procedures for applying for TPS are provided in the Federal Register notice published March 29 and are available at

On March 23, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced her intent to designate Syria for TPS for eighteen months. The TPS designation for Syria is effective March 29, and will remain in effect through September 30, 2013. The designation means that eligible Syrian nationals will not be removed from the United States, and may request employment authorization. The 180-day TPS registration period begins March 29, and ends on September 25, 2012. Although the Federal Register notice erroneously states that TPS applications must be filed March 29, 2012 through September 30, 2013, USCIS will only accept applications filed through September 25, 2012. USCIS is working to correct the public information on the registration deadline date.

To be eligible for TPS, Syrians must meet all individual requirements for TPS, including demonstrating that they have continually resided and been continually physically present in the United States since March 29, 2012. All individuals who apply for TPS will undergo a thorough security check. Individuals with criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS and their applications will be denied. The eligibility requirements are fully described in the Federal Register notice and on the TPS webpage at

Syria joins El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan as countries currently designated for TPS.

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