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El Salvadoran TPS Set to Expire September 9, 2019

On January 8, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, effective September 9, 2019. This means that Salvadorans with TPS can re-register for TPS one last time, but their status will expire on September 9, 2019 and cannot be renewed.

What is Temporary Protected Status?
DHS can designate countries for TPS if it believes that conditions in that country make it too dangerous to return. Common reasons for TPS designation are natural disasters, civil war, or other widespread conflict. At the time a country receives TPS designation, any foreign national from that country residing in the United States can apply for TPS, and if granted, the applicant will receive a work permit, protection from deportation, and will be eligible to apply for a travel permit (called advance parole). As long as the applicant has not been convicted of certain crimes and can prove the necessary physical presence, his or her application should be approved. Unfortunately, TPS does not provide a direct path to obtaining a green card or citizenship.

As the name suggests, TPS is temporary. It is generally granted for periods of 12 to 18 months, at which point DHS decides whether or not to renew TPS for that country. Because TPS is based on conditions in the home country, if DHS believes that conditions have improved, it can choose not renew TPS for that country. In that case, everyone from that country will be unable to renew their TPS status, will no longer be eligible for a work permit or travel permit through TPS, may begin accruing unlawful presence, and may be subject to deportation.

Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador:
El Salvador was first designated for TPS as a result of the civil war in the 1980s, although that designation was removed in 1992. El Salvador was designated for a TPS a second time in 2001, after a devastating earthquake struck the country. Salvadorans who have been living in the United States since that time and have not been convicted of certain crimes have been eligible to continue renewing their TPS. Presently, approximately 200,000 Salvadorans have TPS, accounting for about 60% of all people with TPS in the United States.

We are still waiting for details about re-registering for Salvadoran TPS, but we recommend that all Salvadoran nationals with TPS do the following:

  1. Pay very close attention to all announcements regarding Salvadoran TPS, and TPS in general
  2. Begin exploring any other immigration options you might have as an alternative to TPS.
  3. Begin obtaining travel documents and otherwise plan for your departure from the United States if that becomes necessary

We know any changes in immigration law or policy can be scary. If you have any questions or concerns, please to not hesitate to contact our office.

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