TPS Syria – what can you do when your TPS expires?
Here is information about TPS for people from Syria.
Update September 23, 2019: the Federal Register has published the details for re-registering for TPS Syria.
See details below about re-registering.
TPS Syria – when does my TPS expire?
What happens next?
You will need to change your status or leave the United States by March 31, 2021. If you do nothing, you will risk arrest and deportation.
There may be another extension in the future, however. The next decision to extend or terminate the designation for Syria will be on or before January 30, 2021.
Do I need to re-register?
The Federal Register has published a notice about re-registration. It says, “The 60-day re-registration period runs from September 23, 2019 through November 22, 2019. (Note: It is important for re-registrants to timely re-register during this 60-day period and not to wait until their EADs expire.)”
This 18-month extension of Syria TPS will allow Syrian TPS beneficiaries to re-register for TPS and remain in the United States with work authorization through March 31, 2021. Read details about the extension in the Federal Register notice.
To help you understand what to do next, you can read an explanation of the important points in the notice from the organization CLINIC. And keep checking the DHS page TPS for Syrians for any other information.
What about my work authorization?
The DHS says, “DHS automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Syria for 180 days, through March 28, 2020.” This means you can use your existing EAD for now. But you will get a new EAD when you re-register, if you are eligible. USCIS says it will issue new EADs with a March 31, 2021, expiration date to eligible Syrian TPS beneficiaries who re-register in time and apply for EADs. Read details about the extension in the Federal Register notice. And here is some advice from CLINIC for Syrian TPS holders.
Questions about registering late?
USCIS may accept a late registration or re-registration application if you have good cause. If you missed the re-registration period, go to the USCIS TPS information page and click on “Filing Late” to find out if you qualify.
What happens if TPS Syria expires?
If your TPS expires in March 2021, your legal status will go back to what it was before you had TPS. You can apply to change your status or you can leave the United States. This is called adjusting your status.
What can I do?
You can keep updated on all new information. You can use the time between now and then to learn about your options if TPS expires, and prepare yourself and your family for your next step.
You can meet with a lawyer
If you cannot meet a lawyer in person, LegalZoom is a reputable website that will give you a one-hour free consultation with a lawyer. This means you can meet online for one hour with an immigration lawyer or legal aide. If you do this, make sure you have all of your questions ready ahead of time and someone to interpret for you if you need. After your one-hour consultation, they will try to have you sign up as a paying client. Do not sign anything unless you have money to pay for the lawyer.
What if I can’t meet with a lawyer? What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
We know many individuals cannot meet with a lawyer. Here is more information to help you understand your options. This is not legal advice but instead information to help you consider your choices.
Find help online
Immi helps immigrants understand their legal options. You can use their online screening tool to guide you to your best options. Take the immi interview to see if you qualify for a different immigration status. Immi’s legal information and referral advice are always free.
You can try to change your status
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says:
“TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:
- Applying for non-immigrant status
- Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible”
Applying for non-immigrant status
Even if TPS is considered a qualification to adjust status, you must be eligible to apply. You may apply for a green card if you entered lawfully and meet other requirements. These may be because of your family or your job. Find out how to apply for citizenship.
Applying for asylum
Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
TPS holders can apply for asylum status, especially if they have been here a year or less. If you have been here for less than a year, you should APPLY NOW. However, it is very important that you know the USCIS has recently changed how asylum applications are processed. Now, they are reviewing the most recent applications first. Once you submit an application for asylum, it might be a very short time before your case is heard. So, you most only apply for asylum if you do qualify because otherwise you risk having your case heard and then being deported. You can fill in the form to apply for asylum (this is a legal form and it would be best if you had a lawyer to help you complete the form).
If you have been in the USA for more than one year, you can still apply for asylum but it will be more difficult (and it is already hard to win an asylum case).
Find out more about how to apply for asylum.
If you do decide to apply for asylum, you should try to find a pro-bono (low cost or free attorney) to help you. You can search for a pro-bono or low-cost lawyer on ImmigrationLawHelp.com or on the CLINIC legal directory.
Applying for other protected status
Some TPS holders may stay in the United States under special visas. There are visas for victims of human trafficking, battered spouses, children or parents and victims of other crimes.
If you are a woman and think you might qualify for a special visa because of violence, abuse or another reason, you can contact the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.
If you entered without documents
Depending on where you live, you may be able to apply for change of status even if you entered the United States without paperwork. This is because gaining TPS counts as admission in some parts of the United States.
Can I ask my work to sponsor me?
It is possible for your employer to help you stay lawfully in the United States by sponsoring you. Your employer will have to go through a long process with USCIS. Depending on the kind of work you do, your employer may be able to get you a special visa or permit. If they want to help you, they should start the process now to find out if you are eligible. Employers can find more information from USCIS. However, normally only immigrants who are highly skilled are able to find employers who will sponsor them. These might include doctors, engineers, and tech workers. If you work at a basic or entry level job, do not ask your employer for this option.
What will happen if I stay in the country without documents? (What if I become an illegal immigrant?)
If you stay in the country without documents, you risk being deported or arrested. Here are some pages with more information to help you understand your rights and what to do if you are detained.
Do you know your rights? These easy-to-use resources about different situations were created by the ACLU so you can have your rights at your fingertips.
Arabic, English, Spanish, Somali, Urdu, Mandarin, French, Hindi, and Punjabi languages. Manuals for LGBTQ immigrants, adults, and unaccompanied children.
The Embassy of Syria in the United States
The Syrian Embassy in the United States is closed, but the US Arab Chamber of Commerce can help with certifying personal and business documents, such as birth certificates, educational diplomas, and export documents. Find more information on their website including directions for sending documents and fees.
The address is:
Syria Legalization Service,
US Arab Chamber of Commerce,
1330 New Hampshire Ave NW, Suite B1,
Washington, DC 20036.
The phone number is: (202) 3347-5800.
Are you looking for information to advocate for TPS holders?
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition offers resources to help you take action.
- Is your TPS expiring?
- Where can I find free legal resources?
- Immigrant rights: know your rights as an immigrant
Information provided with the support of CWS and CLINIC. Other information on this page comes from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Register, USCIS and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are looking for a free or low-cost lawyer or legal help, we can help you find free and low-cost legal services.
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