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Important information on Temporary Protected Status for eligible individuals from Syria and Somalia

Boston immigration attorneyAre you from Syria or Somalia, and currently in the United States? If so then you may be eligible for temporary protected status (more commonly known as TPS). Read on (below) about the prospect of obtaining temporary protected status and being able to stay and work in the United States.

SYRIA:

For eligible individuals from Syria the deadline of July 6, 2015 is fast approaching for first time registration for TPS. TPS for those from Syria began March 29, 2012 and is designated through September 30, 2016. TPS was re-designated on January 5, 2015. TPS for those from Syria requires that you have continuously resided in the United States since January 5, 2015 and that you have been continuously present in the United States since April 1, 2015.

If you already have TPS the deadline for re-registration for people from Syria has already passed as the deadline for this was March 6, 2015, though you may want to consider the possibility of making a late re-registration. For those who already have their employment authorization through TPS that was due to expire on March 31, 2015, but has been automatically extended through September 30, 2015. However if your TPS re-registration is approved and you pay the fee for a new employment authorization document then your employment authorization should be extended through September 30, 2016.  For more information please visit the USCIS website page specifically on TPS for Syria.

SOMALIA:

Effective September 18, 2015, TPS for eligible individuals from Somalia will be extended through March 17, 2017. For those who already have TPS you must re-register between June 1, 2015 and July 31, 2015 to avail of this extension. Re-registrants can also apply for an employment authorization document (also known as an EAD).  If you are from Somalia and do not yet have TPS you may be able to file a late application if you meet the requirements. Eligibility requirements for TPS for individuals from Somalia include having resided in the U.S. continuously since May 1, 2012 along with continuous physical presence in the United States since September 18, 2012.  For more information please visit the USCIS website page specifically on TPS for Somalia.

WHAT IS TPS:

If granted TPS eligible individuals may not be removed or deported from the United States.  They may also be eligible for work authorization and may be granted travel authorization. I would recommend speaking with an attorney to help you with the process to make sure that you are doing everything correctly, you can contact us today by filling in the contact form to the right and let us help you through the process.

Temporary Protected Status is granted to eligible individuals from countries that the State Department has designated as unsafe to return to safely. It is a temporary benefit, and does not in itself lead to legal permanent resident status or any other immigration status. However, TPS does not prevent you from applying for another immigrant or non-immigrant status that you may be eligible to apply for. Although TPS is meant to be a temporary reprieve, it can often last many years. For example, Honduras has been designated for TPS since 1999. So it can provide a great relief for many years as countries will often be re-designated year after year but you need to make sure you pay attention to deadlines and reapply.

TPS requirements include (but are not limited to):

  • that you be a national of a designated country or that you last habitually resided in the designated country;
  • that you file during the open initial registration or if you already have TPS then you must register again during the re-registration period;
  • that you have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country; and
  • that you have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country.

Generally speaking when applying initially for TPS you need to include: evidence of your identity and nationality; evidence demonstrating the date that you entered the U.S.; and evidence that you have been continuously residing in the U.S. since that date. You would submit this evidence along with the requisite forms which are in most cases the I-821 and the I-765 along with any requisite fee.  In some circumstances USCIS may accept a late filing. In the case of a re-registration you have to show that you have good cause for filing late. For a late initial registration it may be accepted if you independently meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. In order to be accepted for a late registration you must, broadly speaking, have been in some other status, received some form of removal relief, or be the spouse or the child of an individual who is eligible for TPS.

For more information on Temporary Protected Status and a full list of which countries are designated and the relevant time periods visit the USCIS website page specifically on TPS.

I hope this has provided you with an overview of the TPS process and if you would like us to help you with the process contact www.hannafordimmigration.com today!

Best of luck!

How to get a U.S. tourist visa

Immigration Attorney Boston

If you would like to visit the United States as either a tourist for business or pleasure then you generally must first obtain a visitor visa.  These visa are also known as a B visa and a B visa is a non-immigrant visa. This means that when getting this visa you cannot intend to stay in the U.S. permanently but rather for a short period of time, sometimes up to 6 months, for business purposes, tourism, medical reasons or visiting friends and/or relatives.  As I mentioned you cannot have the intent of staying in the U.S. permanently when seeking a non-immigrant visa.  Now we all know life is unpredictable and sometimes you intent can change or you may need to extend the reason for your trip which can often be accomplished by applying to change your status or in some cases to adjust your status. Though be wary when applying to change your status or adjust your status in the U.S. as if the immigration officer adjudicating your application suspects that you had the intent of staying in the country permanently when you first applied for your non-immigrant visa they will deny your application. If you would like any help or assistance in doing so please contact us at www.hannafordimmigation.com.

There are two main types of B visas available. Which one you will need to apply for would be dependent on the purpose of your trip and what you would like to do on it as is the case with any visas. The main tourist visas are:

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Waiver for J1 visa two year home requirement

If you are on a J-1 visa  you may be subject to the two year home requirement. If you are  before you can get a immigrant visa you have to either complete that requirement or have it waived. You may be able to get what is known as a J-waiver which waives this home requirement.  The two year home rule is also referred to as the foreign residence requirement under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(e), or just INA s. 212(e).

The J-1 visa is a great way to travel to the United States and learn about daily life in America.  It is a non-immigrant visa and was designed to foster global understanding through cross-cultural exchange.  The program generally involves letting an American organization sponsor a foreign national who then works or studies in the United States for a short term and upon completion of the program then returns home.  A prospective exchange visitor would need to first obtain a form called a DS-2019 from a sponsor in order to apply for the J1 visa. Here is a list of sponsors

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Have you or someone you know been living undocumented in the US for 5 years or more? If so read on …

Last Thursday night President Obama announced that he is issuing an executive action to try in some way help fix the broken immigration system.  It has not yet been implemented by the Immigration Agencies and all the details have not been ironed out yet, so only time will tell what the exact rules will be and how these orders will be carried out.  Please be aware of anyone offering to file applications based on the policies announced last Thursday as these policies have not been implemented yet and USCIS are not accepting applications as of yet.

Immigration Reform: Obama's Executive actionsHowever, what we know so far is that immigration reform will involve prioritizing deportations of people with criminal backgrounds while trying to keep families together as well as create more visas for educated skilled workers.  The policies listed on USCIS’ website (available here), which have not yet been implemented, include:

– expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (also known as DACA) to those who came to this country before 2010 and before they turned 16;

– allowing parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and have been continuously present in the U.S. since 2010 of time to be eligible to request deferred action and apply for work authorization as long as they are not an enforcement priority for removal (see the memorandum outlining who is an enforcement priority here);

– expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and children of lawful

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