[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 2 (Monday, January 5, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 245-252]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30871]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2548-14; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2013-0001]
RIN 1615-ZB35


Extension and Redesignation of the Syrian Arab Republic for 
Temporary Protected Status

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of 
Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Through this Notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 
announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is 
extending the designation of the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for 
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from April 1, 2015 
through September 30, 2016, and redesignating Syria for TPS for 18 
months, effective April 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.
    The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain 
TPS through September 30, 2016, so long as they otherwise continue to 
meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. The redesignation of Syria 
allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in 
the United States since January 5, 2015 to obtain TPS, if otherwise 
eligible. The Secretary has determined that an extension of the current 
designation and a redesignation of Syria for TPS are warranted because 
the ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary 
conditions that prompted the 2013 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.
    Through this Notice, DHS also sets forth procedures necessary for 
nationals of Syria (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually 
resided in Syria) either to: (1) Re-register under the extension if 
they already have TPS and to apply for renewal of their Employment 
Authorization Documents (EADs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services (USCIS); or, (2) submit an initial registration application 
under the redesignation and apply for an EAD.
    For individuals who have already been granted TPS under the 2012 
original Syria designation or under the 2013 Syria redesignation, the 
60-day re-registration period runs from January 5, 2015 through March 
6, 2015. USCIS will issue new EADs with a September 30, 2016 expiration 
date to eligible Syria TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and 
apply for EADs under this extension. Given the timeframes involved with 
processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS recognizes that not 
all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs 
expire on March 31, 2015. Accordingly, through this Notice, DHS 
automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS 
designation of Syria for 6 months, through September 30, 2015, and 
explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which 
EADs are automatically extended and their impact on Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify processes.
    Under the redesignation, individuals who currently do not have TPS 
(or an initial TPS application pending) may submit an initial 
application during the 180-day initial registration period that runs 
from January 5, 2015 through July 6, 2015. In addition to demonstrating 
continuous residence in the United States since January 5, 2015 and 
meeting other eligibility criteria, initial applicants for TPS under 
this redesignation must demonstrate that they have been continuously 
physically present in the United States since April 1, 2015, the 
effective date of this redesignation of Syria, before USCIS may grant 
them TPS.
    TPS initial applications that were either filed during 2012 
designation or during the 2013 Syria redesignation and remain pending 
on January 5, 2015 will be treated as initial applications under this 
2015 redesignation. Individuals who have a pending initial Syria TPS 
application will not need to file a new Application for Temporary 
Protected Status (Form I-821). DHS provides additional instructions in 
this Notice for individuals whose TPS applications remain pending and 
who would like to obtain an EAD valid through September 30, 2016.

DATES: Extension of Designation of Syria for TPS: The 18-month 
extension of the TPS designation of Syria is effective April 1, 2015, 
and will remain in effect through September 30, 2016. The 60-day re-
registration period runs from January 5, 2015 through March 6, 2015.
    Redesignation of Syria for TPS: The redesignation of Syria for TPS 
is effective April 1, 2015, and will remain in effect through September 
30, 2016, a period of 18 months. The 180-day initial registration 
period for new applicants under the Syria TPS redesignation runs from 
January 5, 2015 through July 6, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
     For further information on TPS, including guidance on the 
application process and additional information on eligibility, please 
visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps. You can find 
specific information about this extension and redesignation of Syria 
for TPS by selecting ``TPS Designated Country: Syria'' from the menu on 
the left side of the TPS Web page.
     You can also contact the TPS Operations Program Manager at 
the Family and Status Branch, Service Center Operations Directorate, 
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland 
Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2060; or by 
phone at (202) 272-1533 (this is not a toll-free number). Note: The 
phone number provided here is solely for questions regarding this TPS 
Notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries.
     Applicants seeking information about the status of their 
individual cases

[[Page 246]]

can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 
800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).
     Further information will also be available at local USCIS 
offices upon publication of this Notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Abbreviations

BIA--Board of Immigration Appeals
DHS--Department of Homeland Security
DOS--Department of State
EAD--Employment Authorization Document
FNC--Final Nonconfirmation
Government--U.S. Government
IJ--Immigration Judge
INA--Immigration and Nationality Act
ISIL--Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also sometimes referred 
to as the Islamic State, ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-
Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)
OSC--U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for 
Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices
SARG--Syrian Arab Republic Government
SAVE--USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program
Secretary--Secretary of Homeland Security
TNC--Tentative Nonconfirmation
TPS--Temporary Protected Status
TTY--Text Telephone
UN--United Nations
UNHCR--United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
USAID--U.S. Agency for International Development
USCIS--U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

     TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible 
nationals of a country designated for TPS under the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA), or to eligible persons without nationality who 
last habitually resided in the designated country.
     During the TPS designation period, TPS beneficiaries are 
eligible to remain in the United States and may obtain work 
authorization, so long as they continue to meet the requirements of 
TPS.
     TPS beneficiaries may also be granted travel authorization 
as a matter of discretion.
     The granting of TPS does not result in or lead to 
permanent resident status.
     When the Secretary terminates a country's TPS designation, 
beneficiaries return to the same immigration status they maintained 
before TPS, if any (unless that status has since expired or been 
terminated), or to any other lawfully obtained immigration status they 
received while registered for TPS.

When was Syria designated for TPS?

    On March 29, 2012, the Secretary designated Syria for TPS based on 
extraordinary and temporary conditions within that country that 
prevented Syrian nationals and those with no nationality who last 
resided in Syria from returning to Syria in safety. See Designation of 
Syrian Arab Republic for Temporary Protected Status, 77 FR 19026 (Mar. 
29, 2012), and correction at 77 FR 20046 (Apr. 3, 2012); see also INA 
section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C). In 2013, the Secretary 
both extended Syria's designation and redesignated Syria for TPS for 18 
months through March 31, 2015. See Extension and Redesignation of Syria 
for Temporary Protected Status, 78 FR 36223 (Jun. 17, 2013). The 2013 
redesignation of Syria for TPS added the ongoing armed conflict in 
Syria as an additional basis for TPS. This announcement is the third 
designation of TPS for Syria and the first extension since the 2013 
redesignation.

What authority does the Secretary have to extend the designation of 
Syria for TPS?

    Section 244(b)(1) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), authorizes the 
Secretary, after consultation with appropriate U.S. Government 
(Government) agencies, to designate a foreign state (or part thereof) 
for TPS if the Secretary finds that certain country conditions 
exist.\1\ The Secretary may then grant TPS to eligible nationals of 
that foreign state (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually 
resided in that state). See INA section 244(a)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(a)(1)(A).
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    \1\ As of March 1, 2003, in accordance with section 1517 of 
title XV of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, 
116 Stat. 2135, any reference to the Attorney General in a provision 
of the INA describing functions transferred from the Department of 
Justice to DHS ``shall be deemed to refer to the Secretary'' of 
Homeland Security. See 6 U.S.C. 557 (codifying the Homeland Security 
Act of 2002, tit. XV, section 1517).
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    At least 60 days before the expiration of a country's TPS 
designation or extension, the Secretary, after consultation with 
appropriate Government agencies, must review the conditions in a 
foreign state designated for TPS to determine whether the conditions 
for the TPS designation continue to be met. See INA section 
244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). If the Secretary determines that 
a foreign state continues to meet the conditions for TPS designation, 
the designation may be extended for an additional period of 6, 12 or 18 
months. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C). If the 
Secretary determines that the foreign state no longer meets the 
conditions for TPS designation, the Secretary must terminate the 
designation. See INA section 244(b)(3)(B), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B).

What is the Secretary's authority to redesignate Syria for TPS?

    In addition to extending an existing TPS designation, the 
Secretary, after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, may 
redesignate a country (or part thereof) for TPS. See INA section 
244(b)(1), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1); see also INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(i), 
8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(i) (requiring that ``the alien has been 
continuously physically present since the effective date of the most 
recent designation of the state'') (emphasis added). This is one of 
numerous instances in which the Secretary, and prior to the 
establishment of DHS, the Attorney General, has simultaneously extended 
a country's TPS designation and redesignated the country for TPS. See, 
e.g., Extension and Redesignation of Syria for Temporary Protected 
Status, 78 FR 36223 (Jun. 17, 2013); Extension and Redesignation of 
Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 78 FR 1872 (Jan. 9, 2013); 
Extension and Redesignation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status, 76 
FR 29000 (May 19, 2011); Extension of Designation and Redesignation of 
Liberia Under Temporary Protected Status Program, 62 FR 16608 (Apr. 7, 
1997) (discussing legal authority for redesignation of a country for 
TPS).
    When the Secretary designates or redesignates a country for TPS, he 
also has the discretion to establish the date from which TPS applicants 
must demonstrate that they have been ``continuously resid[ing]'' in the 
United States. See INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(c)(1)(A)(ii). This discretion permits the Secretary to tailor the 
``continuous residence'' date to offer TPS to the group of eligible 
individuals that the Secretary deems appropriate.
    The Secretary has determined that the ``continuous residence'' date 
for applicants for TPS under the redesignation of Syria shall be 
January 5, 2015. Initial applicants for TPS under this redesignation 
must also show they have been ``continuously physically present'' in 
the United States since April 1, 2015, which is the effective date of 
the Secretary's redesignation of Syria. See INA section 
244(c)(1)(A)(i), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(i). For each initial TPS 
application filed under the redesignation, the final determination of 
whether the applicant has met the ``continuous physical presence''

[[Page 247]]

requirement cannot be made until April 1, 2015. USCIS, however, will 
issue EADs, as appropriate, during the registration period in 
accordance with 8 CFR 244.5(b).

Why is the Secretary extending the TPS designation for Syria and 
simultaneously redesignating Syria for TPS through September 30, 2016?

    Over the past year, DHS and the Department of State (DOS) have 
continued to review conditions in Syria. Based on this review and after 
consulting with DOS, the Secretary has determined that an 18-month 
extension and redesignation is warranted because the ongoing armed 
conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted 
the June 17, 2013 redesignation continue to be met. Furthermore, the 
Secretary has decided the conditions warrant changing the ``continuous 
residence'' date so as to provide TPS protection to eligible Syrian 
nationals who arrived between June 17, 2013 and January 5, 2015. The 
``continuous physical presence'' date must be the effective date of the 
redesignation, which the Secretary has established as April 1, 2015 so 
that individuals granted TPS under the redesignation will have TPS for 
the same 18-month period through September 30, 2016 as TPS 
beneficiaries re-registering under the extension. See INA section 
244(c)(1)(A)(i); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(i).
    Violence in Syria is widespread and indiscriminate. The Syrian 
Observatory for Human Rights estimates that more than 191,000 people 
have been killed since the start of the civil unrest in Syria in March 
2011. The situation is extremely dangerous for civilians throughout the 
country with the deterioration of public security, continued arbitrary 
and unlawful killings, and the near collapse of public institutions, 
including health, education, and sanitation. The Syrian Arab Republic 
Government (SARG) continues to target humanitarian outposts, hospitals, 
medical staff, schools, breadlines, and other civilian sites. The SARG 
also regularly disrupts the delivery of humanitarian assistance to 
those in need. In addition to the ongoing, high-level atrocities 
committed by the SARG, rebel factions, violent extremists, foreign 
fighters, and unidentified assailants have abducted and killed 
civilians, journalists, humanitarian workers, and United Nations (UN) 
personnel.
    The UN reported in late September 2014 that approximately 6.4 
million Syrians are internally displaced. Acts of violence and human 
rights abuses continue in most major urban centers, and have 
significantly worsened in Aleppo, rural Damascus, Dar'a, Raqqa, 
northern Hasakah province, Deir al-Zour, and Latakia. Violent 
extremists openly surfaced among the armed opposition in the fight 
against the SARG, increasingly employing irregular tactics, including 
suicide bombings of security force targets, resulting in civilian 
casualties. The military continued to fight the opposition, responding 
with air strikes and heavy artillery, and harming civilians in the 
process.
    A number of violent extremists have factored prominently in the 
conflict and pose a danger to civilians. In early 2014, the Islamic 
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) emerged as one of the most 
significant radical Islamist fighting forces. The al-Nusra Front (also 
known as the Jabhat al Nusra) represents the interests of al-Qaeda in 
Syria. These violent extremist groups have engaged in indiscriminate 
attacks including bombings and suicide attacks throughout Syria. 
Various other violent extremists have been actively engaged in armed 
resistance in Syria. Reports indicate that there may be as many as 
5,000 foreign fighters in Syria.
    Since 2011, the Syrian military has engaged in warfare against 
opposition forces, with fighting taking place throughout Syria. In June 
2014, Amnesty International reported that SARG forces continue to carry 
out indiscriminate attacks, bombarding populated civilian areas, and 
that opposition fighters have also carried out indiscriminate attacks. 
The UN indicated that increasingly the attacks by SARG forces and the 
armed opposition have targeted civilians. There has been an increase in 
the reported use of barrel bombs (oil drums packed with crude 
explosives and shrapnel) by the SARG and mortars by opposition forces 
against residential neighborhoods, particularly in Aleppo, Dar'a, rural 
Damascus, and Deir al-Zour.
    Chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations and 
soldiers. In December 2013, the UN stated that chemical weapons were 
used in Ghouta, Khan al-Assal, Jobar, Saraqueb and Ashrafieh Sahnaya. 
The U.S. Government concluded the SARG used chemical weapons in the 
eastern suburbs outside Damascus in an August 2013 attack, killing more 
than 1,400 individuals. The regime has also employed the use of 
incendiary weapons and landmines in civilian areas, as well as 
ballistic missiles.
    The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre noted that by the end 
of 2013, Syria's internal displacement crisis had become the largest in 
the world. As of October 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR) reported that more than 3.2 million refugees from 
Syria have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Although the pace of 
refugee outflow has decreased since mid-year 2013, UNHCR projects an 
estimated 3.6 million Syrian refugees in the region by the end of 2014. 
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs reported 
that approximately 10.8 million Syrians remaining inside Syria were in 
need of humanitarian assistance as of June 2014. Access for delivery of 
humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people continues to be a serious 
challenge, with 4.7 million persons living in hard-to-reach areas with 
little or no access to assistance as of October 2014. The situation is 
extremely dangerous and precarious for civilians, including those who 
are internally displaced throughout the country.
    Interethnic and sectarian violence is a severe problem and has 
resulted in civilian deaths and displacement. Armed groups are active 
in Syria, and several continue to threaten the long-term security of 
the region. Ongoing interethnic violence and the increasing role of 
violent extremist groups, including the ISIL and al-Nusra Front, are 
likely to perpetuate fighting for the foreseeable future.
    In July 2014, the UN reported that siege tactics left many 
civilians trapped without food and subject to shelling and sniper 
attacks. Local NGOs and international humanitarian organizations such 
as UNHCR, the World Food Program, and the International Committee of 
the Red Cross face significant SARG-imposed obstacles to gaining access 
to areas under opposition control, particularly near Aleppo and the 
eastern suburbs of Damascus. Residents in Syria's northeastern 
provinces of Deir al-Zour, Hasakah, and Raqqa also are difficult to 
reach by humanitarian workers due to the presence of ISIL. Water and 
electricity supplies have been cut as a part of the conflict strategy. 
Due to lack of clean water, there has also been a rise in infectious 
and water-borne diseases. Illnesses such as measles and typhoid fever 
have grown exponentially since pre-war times and polio reemerged in 
Syria in 2013 for the first time since 1999, with 36 laboratory-
confirmed cases.
    Serious, persistent conflict continues to pose substantial risk 
throughout Syria. Tens of thousands have been killed by SARG forces and 
non-state armed groups. Concerns for safety have led to massive 
displacement within

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Syria. The refusal of the SARG and certain armed groups to allow 
unfettered humanitarian access to vulnerable populations throughout the 
country, coupled with continued fighting, has caused a grave 
humanitarian crisis that continues to deteriorate. All of these factors 
together present an exceedingly dangerous security environment 
throughout most of the country. The high number of Syrian refugees and 
the continued escalation of the conflict within the country indicate 
that there is no immediate prospect for safe return.
    Based upon this review and after consultation with appropriate 
Government agencies, the Secretary finds that:
     The conditions that prompted the June 17, 2013 
redesignation of Syria for TPS continue to be met. See INA section 
244(b)(3)(A) and (C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A) and (C).
     There continues to be ongoing armed conflict in Syria and, 
due to such conflict, requiring the return of Syrian nationals to Syria 
would pose a serious threat to their personal safety. See INA section 
244(b)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A).
     There continue to be extraordinary and temporary 
conditions in Syria that prevent Syrian nationals from returning to 
Syria in safety. See INA section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).
     It is not contrary to the national interest of the United 
States to permit Syrian nationals (and persons who have no nationality 
who last habitually resided in Syria) who meet the eligibility 
requirements of TPS to remain in the United States temporarily. See INA 
section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).
     The designation of Syria for TPS should be extended for an 
additional 18-month period from April 1, 2015 through September 30, 
2016. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).
     Based on current country conditions, Syria should be 
simultaneously redesignated for TPS effective April 1, 2015 through 
September 30, 2016. See INA sections 244(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and 
(b)(2); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2).
     TPS applicants must demonstrate that they have 
continuously resided in the United States since January 5, 2015.
     The date by which TPS applicants must demonstrate that 
they have been continuously physically present in the United States is 
April 1, 2015, the effective date of the redesignation of Syria for 
TPS.
     There are approximately 5,000 current Syrian TPS 
beneficiaries who are expected to apply for re-registration and may be 
eligible to retain their TPS under the extension.
     It is estimated that an additional 5,000 individuals may 
file initial applications for TPS under the redesignation of Syria.

Notice of Extension of the TPS Designation of Syria and Redesignation 
of Syria for TPS

    By the authority vested in me as Secretary under INA section 244, 8 
U.S.C. 1254a, I have determined, after consultation with the 
appropriate Government agencies, that the conditions that prompted the 
redesignation of Syria for TPS in 2013 not only continue to be met, but 
have significantly deteriorated. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(3)(A). On the basis of these determinations, I am 
simultaneously extending the existing TPS designation of Syria for 18 
months from April 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016, and redesignating 
Syria for TPS for the same 18-month period. See INA sections 
244(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A), 
(b)(1)(C), and (b)(2). I have also determined that eligible individuals 
must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United 
States since January 5, 2015. See INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(ii), 8 
U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(ii).

Jeh Charles Johnson,
Secretary.

I am currently a Syria TPS beneficiary. What should I do?

    If you filed a TPS application during the Syria TPS registration 
period that ran from June 17, 2013 through December 16, 2013, and that 
application was approved prior to January 5, 2015, then you need to 
file a re-registration application under the extension if you wish to 
maintain TPS benefits through September 30, 2016. You must use the 
Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) to re-register 
for TPS. The 60-day open re-registration period will run from January 
5, 2015 through March 6, 2015.

I have a pending initial TPS application filed during the Syria TPS 
registration period that ran from June 17, 2013 through December 16, 
2013. What should I do?

    If your TPS application is still pending on January 5, 2015, then 
you do not need to file a new Application for Temporary Protected 
Status (Form I-821). Pending TPS applications will be treated as 
initial applications under this re-designation. Therefore, if your TPS 
application is approved, you will be granted TPS through September 30, 
2016. If you have a pending TPS application and you wish to have an EAD 
valid through September 30, 2016, please refer to Table 1 to determine 
whether you should file a new Application for Employment Authorization 
(Form I-765).

     Table 1--Form and EAD Information for Pending TPS Applications
------------------------------------------------------------------------
          If . . .                  And . . .            Then . . .
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You requested an EAD during   You received an EAD   You must file a new
 the previous initial          with Category C19     Application for
 registration period for       or A12.               Employment
 Syria TPS.                                          Authorization (Form
                                                     I-765) with fee (or
                                                     fee waiver request)
                                                     if you wish to have
                                                     a new EAD valid
                                                     through September
                                                     30, 2016.
                              You did not receive   You do not need to
                               an EAD with           file a new
                               Category C19 or A12.  Application for
                                                     Employment
                                                     Authorization (Form
                                                     I-765). If your TPS
                                                     application is
                                                     approved, your
                                                     Application for
                                                     Employment
                                                     Authorization (Form
                                                     I-765) will be
                                                     approved through
                                                     September 30, 2016.
You did not request an EAD    You wish to have an   You must file a new
 during the previous initial   EAD valid through     Application for
 registration period for       September 30, 2016..  Employment
 Syria TPS.                   You do not wish to     Authorization (Form
                               have an EAD valid     I-765) with fee (or
                               through September     fee waiver
                               30, 2016.             request).
                                                    You do not need to
                                                     file a new
                                                     Application for
                                                     Employment
                                                     Authorization (Form
                                                     I-765).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 249]]

I am not a TPS beneficiary, and I do not have a TPS application 
pending. What are the procedures for initial registration for TPS under 
the Syria redesignation?

    If you are not a Syria TPS beneficiary or do not have a pending TPS 
application with USCIS, you may submit your TPS application during the 
180-day initial registration period that will run from January 5, 2015 
through July 6, 2015.

Required Application Forms and Application Fees To Register or Re-
Register for TPS

    To register or re-register for TPS for Syria, an applicant must 
submit each of the following two applications:
    1. Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821).
     If you are filing an initial application, you must pay the 
fee for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). 
See 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2) and 244.6 and information on initial filing on 
the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.
     If you are filing an application for re-registration, you 
do not need to pay the fee for the Application for Temporary Protected 
Status (Form I-821). See 8 CFR 244.17.
and
    2. Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).
     If you are applying for initial registration and want an 
EAD, you must pay the fee for the Application for Employment 
Authorization (Form I-765) only if you are age 14 through 65. No fee 
for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) is 
required if you are under the age of 14 or are 66 and older and 
applying for initial registration.
     If you are applying for re-registration, you must pay the 
fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) only 
if you want an EAD, regardless of age.
     You do not pay the fee for the Application for Employment 
Authorization (Form I-765) if you are not requesting an EAD, regardless 
of whether you are applying for initial registration or re-
registration.
    You must submit both completed application forms together. If you 
are unable to pay for the application and/or biometric services fee, 
you may apply for a fee waiver by completing a Request for Fee Waiver 
(Form I-912) or submitting a personal letter requesting a fee waiver, 
and by providing satisfactory supporting documentation. For more 
information on the application forms and fees for TPS, please visit the 
USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps. Fees for the 
Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821), the 
Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), and biometric 
services are also described in 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1)(i).

Biometric Services Fee

    Biometrics (such as fingerprints) are required for all applicants 
14 years of age or older. Those applicants must submit a biometric 
services fee. As previously stated, if you are unable to pay for the 
biometric services fee, you may apply for a fee waiver by completing a 
Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912) or by submitting a personal letter 
requesting a fee waiver, and providing satisfactory supporting 
documentation. For more information on the biometric services fee, 
please visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov. If necessary, 
you may be required to visit an Application Support Center to have your 
biometrics captured.

Refiling an Initial TPS Application After Receiving a Denial of a Fee 
Waiver Request

    If you request a fee waiver when filing your initial TPS 
application package and your request is denied, you may re-file your 
application packet before the initial filing deadline of July 6, 2015. 
If you submit your application with a fee waiver request before that 
deadline, but you receive a fee waiver denial and there are fewer than 
45 days before the filing deadline (or the deadline has passed), you 
may still re-file your application within the 45-day period after the 
date on the USCIS fee waiver denial notice. Your application will not 
be rejected even if the filing deadline has passed, provided it is 
mailed within those 45 days and all other required information for the 
application is included. Note: If you wish, you may also wait to 
request an EAD and pay the Application for Employment Authorization 
(Form I-765) fee after USCIS grants you TPS, if you are found eligible. 
If you choose to do this, you would file the Application for Temporary 
Protected Status (Form I-821) with the fee and the Application for 
Employment Authorization (Form I-765) without fee and without 
requesting an EAD.

Re-Filing a TPS Re-Registration Application After Receiving a Denial of 
a Fee Waiver Request

    USCIS urges all re-registering applicants to file as soon as 
possible within the 60-day re-registration period so that USCIS can 
process the applications and issue EADs promptly. Filing early will 
also allow those applicants who may receive denials of their fee waiver 
requests to have time to re-file their applications before the re-
registration deadline. If, however, an applicant receives a denial of 
his or her fee waiver request and is unable to re-file by the re-
registration deadline, the applicant may still re-file his or her 
application. This situation will be reviewed to determine whether the 
applicant has established good cause for late re-registration. However, 
applicants are urged to re-file within 45 days of the date on their 
USCIS fee waiver denial notice, if at all possible. See INA section 
244(c)(3)(C); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(3)(C); 8 CFR 244.17(c). For more 
information on good cause for late re-registration, visit the USCIS TPS 
Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps. Note: As previously stated, 
although a re-registering TPS beneficiary age 14 and older must pay the 
biometric services fee (but not the initial TPS application fee) when 
filing a TPS re-registration application, the applicant may decide to 
wait to request an EAD, and therefore not pay the Application for 
Employment Authorization (Form I-765) fee, until after USCIS has 
approved the individual's TPS re-registration, if he or she is 
eligible.

Mailing Information

    Mail your application for TPS to the proper address in Table 2.

                       Table 2--Mailing Addresses
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                If . . .                          Mail to . . .
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are applying through the U.S.        USCIS, Attn: TPS Syria, P.O.
 Postal Service.                          Box 6943, Chicago, IL 60680-
                                          6943.
You are using a non-U.S. Postal Service  USCIS, Attn: TPS Syria, 131 S.
 delivery service.                        Dearborn 3rd Floor, Chicago,
                                          IL 60603-5517.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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    If you were granted TPS by an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board 
of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and you wish to request an EAD, or are 
re-registering for the first time following a grant of TPS by an IJ or 
the BIA, please mail your application to the appropriate address in 
Table 2. Upon receiving a Notice of Action (Form I-797) from USCIS, 
please send an email to TPSijgrant.vsc@uscis.dhs.gov with the receipt 
number and state that you submitted a re-registration and/or request 
for an EAD based on an IJ/BIA grant of TPS. You can find detailed 
information on what further information you need to email and the 
appropriate email address on the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

E-Filing

    You cannot electronically file your application when re-registering 
or submitting an initial registration for Syria TPS. Please mail your 
application to the mailing address listed in Table 2.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

May I request an interim EAD at my local USCIS office?

    No. USCIS will not issue interim EADs to TPS applicants or re-
registrants at local offices.

Am I eligible to receive an automatic 6-month extension of my current 
EAD through September 30, 2015?

    Provided that you currently have TPS under the Syria designation, 
this Notice automatically extends your EAD by 6 months if you:
     Are a national of Syria (or an alien having no nationality 
who last habitually resided in Syria);
     Received an EAD under the last extension or redesignation 
of TPS for Syria; and
     Have an EAD with a marked expiration date of March 31, 
2015, bearing the notation ``A-12'' or ``C-19'' on the face of the card 
under ``Category.''
    Although this Notice automatically extends your EAD through 
September 30, 2015, you must re-register timely for TPS in accordance 
with the procedures described in this Notice if you would like to 
maintain your TPS.

When hired, what documentation may I show to my employer as proof of 
employment authorization and identity when completing Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)?

    You can find a list of acceptable document choices on the ``Lists 
of Acceptable Documents'' for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form 
I-9). You can find additional detailed information on the USCIS I-9 
Central Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. Employers are 
required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new 
employees by using Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). 
Within 3 days of hire, an employee must present proof of identity and 
employment authorization to his or her employer.
    You may present any document from List A (reflecting both your 
identity and employment authorization), or one document from List B 
(reflecting identity) together with one document from List C 
(reflecting employment authorization). You may present an acceptable 
receipt for List A, List B, or List C documents as described in the 
Form I-9 Instructions. An EAD is an acceptable document under ``List 
A.'' Employers may not reject a document based on a future expiration 
date.
    If your EAD has an expiration date of March 31, 2015, and states 
``A-12'' or ``C-19'' under ``Category,'' it has been extended 
automatically for 6 months by virtue of this Federal Register Notice, 
and you may choose to present your EAD to your employer as proof of 
identity and employment authorization for Employment Eligibility 
Verification (Form I-9) through September 30, 2015 (see the subsection 
titled ``How do my employer and I complete the Employment Eligibility 
Verification (Form I-9) using an automatically extended EAD for a new 
job?'' for further information). To minimize confusion over this 
extension at the time of hire, you may also show your employer a copy 
of this Federal Register Notice confirming the automatic extension of 
employment authorization through September 30, 2015. As an alternative 
to presenting your automatically extended EAD, you may choose to 
present any other acceptable document from List A, or a combination of 
one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

What documentation may I show my employer if I am already employed but 
my current TPS-related EAD is set to expire?

    Even though EADs with an expiration date of March 31, 2015, that 
state ``A-12'' or ``C-19'' under ``Category'' have been automatically 
extended for 6 months by this Federal Register Notice, your employer 
will need to ask you about your continued employment authorization once 
March 31, 2015, is reached to meet its responsibilities for Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). However, your employer does not 
need a new document to reverify your employment authorization until 
September 30, 2015, the expiration date of the automatic extension. 
Instead, you and your employer must make corrections to the employment 
authorization expiration dates in Section 1 and Section 2 of Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) (see the subsection titled ``What 
corrections should my current employer and I make to Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if my EAD has been automatically 
extended?'' for further information). In addition, you may also show 
this Federal Register Notice to your employer to explain what to do for 
Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).
    By September 30, 2015, the expiration date of the automatic 
extension, your employer must reverify your employment authorization. 
At that time, you must present any document from List A or any document 
from List C on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to 
reverify employment authorization, or an acceptable List A or List C 
receipt described in the Form I-9 Instructions. Your employer should 
complete either Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification 
(Form I-9) originally completed for the employee or, if this Section 
has already been completed or if the version of Employment Eligibility 
Verification (Form I-9) has expired (check the date in the upper right-
hand corner of the form), complete Section 3 of a new Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using the most current version. 
Note that your employer may not specify which List A or List C document 
employees must present, and cannot reject an acceptable receipt.

Can my employer require that I provide any other documentation to prove 
my status, such as proof of my Syrian citizenship?

    No. When completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), 
including re-verifying employment authorization, employers must accept 
any documentation that appears on the ``Lists of Acceptable Documents'' 
for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) that reasonably 
appears to be genuine and that relates to you, or an acceptable List A, 
List B, or List C receipt. Employers may not request documentation that 
does not appear on the ``Lists of Acceptable Documents.'' Therefore, 
employers may not request proof of Syrian citizenship when completing 
Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for new hires or 
reverifying the employment authorization of current employees. If

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presented with EADs that have been automatically extended, employers 
should accept such EADs as valid List A documents so long as the EADs 
reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee. Refer to 
the Note to Employees section of this Notice for important information 
about your rights if your employer rejects lawful documentation, 
requires additional documentation, or otherwise discriminates against 
you based on your citizenship or immigration status, or your national 
origin.

What happens after September 30, 2015, for purposes of employment 
authorization?

    After September 30, 2015, employers may no longer accept the EADs 
that this Federal Register Notice automatically extended. Before that 
time, however, USCIS will issue new EADs to eligible TPS re-registrants 
who request them. These new EADs will have an expiration date of 
September 30, 2016, and can be presented to your employer for 
completion of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). 
Alternatively, you may choose to present any other legally acceptable 
document or combination of documents listed on the Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

How do my employer and I complete Employment Eligibility Verification 
(Form I-9) using an automatically extended EAD for a new job?

    When using an automatically extended EAD to complete Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for a new job prior to September 
30, 2015, you and your employer should do the following:
    1. For Section 1, you should:
    a. Check ``An alien authorized to work'';
    b. Write your alien number (USCIS number or A-number) in the first 
space (your EAD or other document from DHS will have your USCIS number 
or A-number printed on it; the USCIS number is the same as your A-
number without the A prefix); and
    c. Write the automatically extended EAD expiration date (September 
30, 2015) in the second space.
    2. For Section 2, employers should record the:
    a. Document title;
    b. Document number; and
    c. Automatically extended EAD expiration date (September 30, 2015).
    By September 30, 2015, employers must reverify the employee's 
employment authorization in Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility 
Verification (Form I-9).

What corrections should my current employer and I make to Employment 
Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if my EAD has been automatically 
extended?

    If you are an existing employee who presented a TPS-related EAD 
that was valid when you first started your job, but that EAD has now 
been automatically extended, you and your employer should correct your 
previously completed Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) as 
follows:
    1. For Section 1, you should:
    a. Draw a line through the expiration date in the second space;
    b. Write ``September 30, 2015'' above the previous date;
    c. Write ``TPS Ext.'' in the margin of Section 1; and
    d. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 1.
    2. For Section 2, employers should:
    a. Draw a line through the expiration date written in Section 2;
    b. Write ``September 30, 2015'' above the previous date;
    c. Write ``TPS Ext.'' in the margin of Section 2; and
    d. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 2.
    By September 30, 2015, when the automatic extension of EADs 
expires, employers must reverify the employee's employment 
authorization in Section 3.

If I am an employer enrolled in E-Verify, what do I do when I receive a 
``Work Authorization Documents Expiration'' alert for an automatically 
extended EAD?

    If you are an employer who participates in E-Verify and you have an 
employee who is a TPS beneficiary who provide a TPS-related EAD when he 
or she first started working for you, you will receive a ``Work 
Authorization Documents Expiring'' case alert when this EAD is about to 
expire. Usually, this message is an alert to complete Section 3 of the 
Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to reverify an 
employee's employment authorization. For existing employees with TPS-
related EADs that have been automatically extended, employers should 
dismiss this alert by clicking the red ``X'' in the ``dismiss alert'' 
column and follow the instructions above explaining how to correct the 
Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). By September 30, 2015, 
employment authorization must be reverified in Section 3. Employers 
should never use E-Verify for reverification.

Note to All Employers

    Employers are reminded that the laws requiring proper employment 
eligibility verification and prohibiting unfair immigration-related 
employment practices remain in full force. This Notice does not 
supersede or in any way limit applicable employment verification rules 
and policy guidance, including those rules setting forth re-
verification requirements. For general questions about the employment 
eligibility verification process, employers may call USCIS at 888-464-
4218 (TTY for the hearing impaired is at 877-875-6028) or email USCIS 
at I-9Central@dhs.gov. Calls and emails are accepted in English and 
many other languages. For questions about avoiding discrimination 
during the employment eligibility verification process (I-9 and E-
Verify), employers may also call the U.S. Department of Justice, Office 
of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices 
(OSC) Employer Hotline at 800-255-8155 (TTY 800-237-2515), which offers 
language interpretation in numerous languages, or email OSC at 
osccrt@usdoj.gov.

Note to Employees

    For general questions about the employment eligibility verification 
process, employees may call USCIS at 888-897-7781 (TTY for the hearing 
impaired is at 877-875-6028) or email at I-9Central@dhs.gov. Calls are 
accepted in English, Spanish and many other languages. Employees or 
applicants may also call the OSC Worker Information Hotline at 800-255-
7688 (TTY 800-237-2515) for information regarding employment 
discrimination based upon citizenship status, immigration status, or 
national origin related to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-
9) and E-Verify. The OSC Worker Information Hotline provides language 
interpretation in numerous languages.
    To comply with the law, employers must accept any document or 
combination of documents from the List of Acceptable Documents if the 
documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the 
employee, or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt as 
described in the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) 
Instructions. Employers may not require extra or additional 
documentation beyond what is required for Employment Eligibility 
Verification (Form I-9) completion. Further, employers participating in 
E-Verify who receive an E-Verify case result of ``Tentative 
Nonconfirmation'' (TNC) must promptly inform employees of the TNC and 
give such employees an opportunity to contest the TNC. A TNC case 
result means that the information

[[Page 252]]

entered into E-Verify from Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-
9) differs from federal or state government records. Employers may not 
terminate, suspend, delay training, withhold pay, lower pay or take any 
adverse action against an employee based on the employee's decision to 
contest a TNC or because the case is still pending with E-Verify. A 
Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) case result is received when E-Verify 
cannot verify an employee's employment eligibility. An employer may 
terminate employment based on a case result of FNC. Work-authorized 
employees who receive an FNC may call USCIS for assistance at 888-897-
7781 (TTY for the hearing impaired is at 877-875-6028). To report an 
employer that discriminates against an employee in the E-Verify process 
based on citizenship or immigration status, or based on national 
origin, contact OSC's Worker Information Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 
800-237-2515). Additional information about proper nondiscriminatory 
Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify procedures 
is available on the OSC Web site at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/ and the USCIS Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/E-verify.

Note Regarding Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies (Such as 
Departments of Motor Vehicles)

    While Federal government agencies must follow the guidelines laid 
out by the Federal government, state and local government agencies 
establish their own rules and guidelines when granting certain 
benefits. Each state may have different laws, requirements, and 
determinations about what documents you need to provide to prove 
eligibility for certain benefits. Whether you are applying for a 
Federal, state, or local government benefit, you may need to provide 
the government agency with documents that show you are a TPS 
beneficiary and/or show you are authorized to work based on TPS. 
Examples of such documents are:
    (1) Your unexpired EAD that has been automatically extended, or 
your EAD that has not expired;
    (2) A copy of this Federal Register Notice if your EAD is 
automatically extended under this Notice;
    (3) A copy of your Application for Temporary Protected Status 
Notice of Action (Form I-797) for this re-registration;
    (4) A copy of your past or current Application for Temporary 
Protected Status Notice of Action (Form I-797), if you received one 
from USCIS; and/or
    (5) If there is an automatic extension of work authorization, a 
copy of the fact sheet from the USCIS TPS Web site that provides 
information on the automatic extension.
    Check with the government agency regarding which document(s) the 
agency will accept. You may also provide the agency with a copy of this 
Federal Register Notice.
    Some benefit-granting agencies use the USCIS Systematic Alien 
Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) to verify the current 
immigration status of applicants for public benefits. If such an agency 
has denied your application based solely or in part on a SAVE response, 
the agency must offer you the opportunity to appeal the decision in 
accordance with the agency's procedures. If the agency has received and 
acted upon or will act upon a SAVE verification and you do not believe 
the response is correct, you may make an InfoPass appointment for an 
in-person interview at a local USCIS office. Detailed information on 
how to make corrections, make an appointment, or submit a written 
request can be found at the SAVE Web site at http://www.uscis.gov/save, 
then by choosing ``How to Correct Your Records'' from the menu on the 
right.

[FR Doc. 2014-30871 Filed 1-2-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-97-P