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TPS Extended for Syrian Nationals in the United States

For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section on TPS for Syrians.

    On August 1, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will not only be extended for Syrians who already have this status, but will also be permitted for all other eligible Syrians who have been continuously residing in the United States since August 1, 2016. TPS was originally permitted for Syrians that were residing in the U.S. since March 29, 2012 and then extended again in June 2013 and January 2015. Aljijakli & Kosseff, LLC applauds this decision by the U.S. administration, which will provide immigration benefits to thousands of Syrians living in the US.

    TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to foreign nationals of certain countries who are in the U.S. and who cannot safely return to their home countries due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other emergency conditions. Historically, it is rare for the U.S. administration to change the originally designated TPS cutoff date for a country, however, they recognized that it was necessary "because the ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the 2015 TPS redesignation have not only persisted, but have deteriorated, and because the ongoing armed conflict in Syria and other extraordinary and temporary conditions would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of Syrian nationals if they were required to return to their country." Syrian-American immigration attorney, Nadeen Aljijakli, of Aljijakli & Kosseff, LLC, states: "For months, we have been responding daily to urgent inquiries from Syrians in the US who have been desperate not to return to the devastating situation in Syria. Many of them arrived in the country after the TPS re-designation date in January 2015 and have no other immigration options. These individuals, who have been living in a state of fear and uncertainty for their lives, may now have a safe haven in the US."

    USCIS has designated Syria for TPS for an additional 18-month period (from October 1, 2016 until March 31, 2018), with the possibility of renewal. During this period, Syrians granted TPS status may not be deported from the US; they can obtain work authorization; and they may be granted permission to travel. Applicants must show that they came to the US on or before August 1, 2016 and have been continually residing in the country. They must also be physically present in the U.S. on October 1, 2016. For those who have already been granted TPS, applications for re-registration must be submitted by September 30, 2016. For those who are new applicants, applications for registration must be submitted by January 30, 2017.

    TPS does not provide a path to permanent resident status ("green card") or any other long term status; however, TPS holders may apply for any other status for which they are eligible. When a TPS designation is terminated, TPS holders revert to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS, if that status remains valid, or to any other status they may have obtained while registered for TPS.

    Based on the humanitarian purpose of TPS relief, and unlike many other areas of US immigration law, Syrian nationals may be considered for TPS regardless of their immigration status or lack thereof. Mandatory bars, however, exist for individuals with certain criminal convictions and for other security-related matters. It is important for applicants to seek experienced legal counsel to determine if TPS is advantageous and whether any risks may apply.

    USCIS has stated that there are approximately 5,800 current Syrian TPS beneficiaries who are expected to be eligible to re-register for TPS under the extension. USCIS further estimates that 2,500 additional individuals may be eligible for TPS under the redesignation of Syria. The TPS designation for Syria is certain to have a far-reaching impact on the Syrian population in the US.

    For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section on TPS for Syrians.