On May 10, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register that temporarily preserves TPS for nationals of Nepal and Honduras. Originally, TPS was to be terminated for Nepal on June 24, 2019 and for Honduras on January 5, 2020.
DHS published the notice to be compliant with a federal court order from March 12, 2019, in Bhattarai v. Nielsen et al., to stay TPS proceedings. As a result of a similar federal court case challenging TPS terminations, Ramos et al. v. Nielsen et al., DHS has agreed to keep TPS designations for nationals of Nepal and Honduras in place until there is a final judicial order in the Ramos appeal.
With the publication of the notice in the Federal Register, TPS Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), Forms I-797 Approval Notices, and I-94 records for nationals of Nepal are automatically extended through March 24, 2020, provided individuals meet certain registration and documentary requirements. For nationals of Honduras who either have been approved for re-registration or who have pending TPS re-registration and EAD applications, their EADs, Forms I-797 Approval Notices, and I-94 records will remain in effect until January 5, 2020. DHS plans to issue Federal Register notices that will automatically extend TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Nepal and Honduras in nine-month intervals to comply with Bhattarai and other court orders.
In the event the preliminary injunction in Ramos et al. v. Nielsen et al. is reversed, and DHS is permitted to move forward with TPS terminations, an individual’s TPS status and work authorization will terminate either 120 days after the final court order, or on the TPS country’s original termination date, whichever is later.
TPS beneficiaries eligible for automatic EAD extensions may complete or update their I-9 employment eligibility records by providing their employer with a copy of the notice in the Federal Register, an eligible expiring or expired TPS EAD, and all other required I-9 documents. The Federal Register notice provides specific instructions on how to properly complete an I-9 form to reflect an automatically extended TPS EAD.
While it is not necessary for TPS beneficiaries from Nepal and Honduras to obtain a new EAD in order to benefit from the automatic EAD extension, they may do so by filing a Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS, along with the filing fee or fee waiver request. If a pending application is approved, the approval notices and document expiration dates will reflect the latest expiration date, March 24, 2020 (Nepal) or January 5, 2020 (Honduras). There is no need for an eligible applicant to file either application again.
If you have questions about the extension of the TPS program for Nepal or Honduras, please contact an attorney with the Mintz Immigration Practice.