[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 147 (Monday, August 1, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50533-50541]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-17933]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2586-16; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2013-0001]
RIN 1615-ZB54


Extension and Redesignation of Syria 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 October 1, 2016 
through March 31, 2018, and redesignating Syria for TPS for 18 months, 
effective October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018.
    The extension allows TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 
31, 2018, so long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements 
for TPS. The redesignation

[[Page 50534]]

of Syria allows additional individuals who have been continuously 
residing in the United States since August 1, 2016 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 2015 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 or 2015 Syria 
redesignations, the 60-day re-registration period runs from August 1, 
2016 through September 30, 2016. USCIS will issue new EADs with a March 
31, 2018 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 September 30, 2016. Accordingly, through 
this Notice, DHS automatically extends the validity of EADs issued 
under the TPS designation of Syria for 6 months, through March 31, 
2017, 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 August 1, 2016 through January 30, 2017. In addition to 
demonstrating continuous residence in the United States since August 1, 
2016 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 October 1, 
2016, the effective date of this redesignation of Syria, before USCIS 
may grant them TPS.
    TPS initial applications that were either filed during the 2013 
redesignation or during the 2015 Syria redesignation and remain pending 
on August 1, 2016 will be treated as initial applications under this 
2016 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 March 31, 2018.

DATES: Extension of Designation of Syria for TPS: The 18-month 
extension of the TPS designation of Syria is effective October 1, 2016, 
and will remain in effect through March 31, 2018. The 60-day re-
registration period runs from August 1, 2016 through September 30, 
2016.
    Redesignation of Syria for TPS: The redesignation of Syria for TPS 
is effective October 1, 2016, and will remain in effect through March 
31, 2018, a period of 18 months. The 180-day initial registration 
period for new applicants under the Syria TPS redesignation runs from 
August 1, 2016 through January 30, 2017.

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 Jerry Rigdon, Chief of the Waivers and Temporary Services 
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 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
OHCHR--Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
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
UNICEF--United Nations Children's Emergency Fund
USAID--U.S. Agency for International Development
USCIS--U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
WFP--World Food Programme
WHO--World Health Organization

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

[[Page 50535]]

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 (March 
29, 2012), and correction at 77 FR 20046 (April 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. In 2015, the Secretary both 
extended Syria's designation and redesignated Syria for TPS for 18 
months through September 30, 2016. See Extension and Redesignation of 
Syria for Temporary Protected Status, 80 FR 245 (January 5, 2015). This 
announcement is the fourth designation of TPS for Syria and the third 
extension since the initial designation in 2012.

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 August 
1, 2016. Initial applicants for TPS under this redesignation must also 
show they have been ``continuously physically present'' in the United 
States since October 1, 2016, 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'' requirement cannot be made 
until October 1, 2016. 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 March 31, 2018?
    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 January 5, 2015 redesignation continue to exist. 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 January 5, 2015 and August 1, 2016. The 
``continuous physical presence'' date must be the effective date of the 
redesignation, which the Secretary has established as October 1, 2016, 
so that individuals granted TPS under the redesignation will have TPS 
for the same 18-month period through March 31, 2018 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).
    Violent conflict and the deteriorating humanitarian crisis continue 
to pose significant risk throughout Syria. Hundreds of thousands have 
been killed as a result of ongoing violence. Concerns for health and 
safety have led to largescale civilian displacement within Syria and 
migrations to neighboring countries and Europe. As of May 2016, the 
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that 13.5 
million people worldwide are in need of humanitarian assistance as a 
result of armed conflict in Syria. In May 2016, the United Nations 
Special Envoy for Syria has estimated that as many as 400,000 
individuals have been killed, and 1.5 million injured since the 
violence began in 2011. According to information from USAID, as of 
March 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 
had registered 4.8 million refugees in neighboring countries, and 6.5 
million people were internally displaced Syria.
    Syria's lengthy civil conflict has resulted in high levels of food

[[Page 50536]]

insecurity, limited access to water and medical care, and massive 
destruction of Syria's infrastructure. Attacks against civilians, the 
use of chemical weapons and irregular warfare tactics, as well as 
forced conscription and use of child soldiers have intensified the 
humanitarian crisis. USAID reports reductions in agricultural 
production, widespread displacement, disruption of markets and 
transportation, elimination of bread subsidies, damage to 
infrastructure including mills and bakeries, and loss of livelihoods 
are contributing to unprecedented food insecurity in Syria. As of 2015, 
it was estimated that over 6.3 million people within Syria, as well as 
3 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries are in need of 
emergency food assistance. In late 2015, due to significant funding 
deficits, food assistance distributed by the United Nation's World Food 
Programme (WFP) and 37 other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 
reduced the level of assistance provided to 1.3 million Syrian refugees 
by 50 percent. According to information from USAID, WFP continues to 
face funding shortages for its programs in 2016, and is currently 
providing monthly food assistance to 1.4 million refugees and over 4 
million people inside Syria.
    Water availability in Syria has decreased to less than 50 percent 
of its pre- civil war levels. United Nations Children's Emergency Fund 
(UNICEF) reported that in 2015 alone, as many as 5 million people 
living in cities and communities across the country have suffered the 
consequences of long and sometimes deliberate interruptions to their 
water supplies. Additionally, strikes against population centers in the 
course of military operations has resulted in wide-scale destruction of 
water supply networks and infrastructure. According to information from 
USAID, between January and March 2016, 16 million Syrians relied on 
water assistance from the International Committee of the Red Cross and 
the Syrian Arab Red Crescent for survival.
    Water scarcity as a result of power outages and limited access to 
fuel has caused numerous health and financial issues for families in 
Damascus, Aleppo, the southern city of Dera'a, and other areas. 
According to information from USAID, UNICEF reported in May 2016 that 
fuel supplies to the Sulaiman Al-Halabi and Bab Alnerab pumping 
stations were cut off, thus depriving 2 million people access to clean 
water. Additionally, water prices have dramatically increased, with 
cities like Aleppo seeing upwards of a 3,000 percent increase in the 
cost of clean water. Unable to afford the rising cost of limited clean 
water supplies, families rely on dirty water from unprotected and 
unregulated groundwater sources. As a result, UNICEF reports increased 
cases of typhoid, diarrhea, hepatitis, and other diseases in children 
and other at-risk populations.
    Civilian health needs continue to rise as Syria's health system 
deteriorates. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 58 
percent of public hospitals were either partially functional or 
completely destroyed as of September 2015. Syrian medical personnel and 
facilities have been repeatedly struck in the course of military 
operations, particularly Syrian government air operations.
    In early 2015, the WHO reported that the conflict has significantly 
impacted the ability for NGOs to deliver medical aid into and 
throughout Syria. Between 2011 and April 2016, Physicians for Human 
Rights reports that 738 medical personnel have been killed and 259 
medical facilities indiscriminately or deliberately attacked. The 
organization reports that government forces use ``double tap'' tactics, 
attacking a site and then attacking it again once first responders 
arrive. Physicians for Human Rights documented 122 attacks on medical 
facilities in 2015, the highest rate of attacks on hospitals since the 
start of the conflict. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human 
Rights (OHCHR) reported an increase in miscarriages, birth defects, and 
infant mortality. NGOs operating near major population centers, such as 
Aleppo, reported on outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, scabies and 
tuberculosis among the populations.
    As of November 2015, Syria's civil war has caused over $270 billion 
in damages to the country's infrastructure. An estimated 2.1 million 
homes, half of the country's hospitals, and over 7,000 schools have 
been destroyed due to the conflict. Population centers such as Raqqah, 
Homs, and Aleppo, valued for their strategic positions by the 
opposition, extremists, and government forces, have become targets of 
military operations from all sides of the conflict. For example, within 
the city of Kobane, after 4 months of fighting between Kurdish and 
Islamic State forces, over 3,200 buildings were damaged. In Aleppo, at 
least 14,000 structures were damaged or destroyed, mostly by government 
airstrikes, with an additional unknown number of buildings destroyed as 
a result of front line conflict.
    The recruitment and use of child soldiers has become 
``commonplace'' in the Syrian armed conflict according to a 2015 United 
Nations report. Forced conscription has affected the Syrian population 
more broadly as the conflict persists into its 6th year. While 
mandatory military service is a longstanding practice in Syria, the 
government strengthened its enforcement measures in 2014 and 2015. High 
rates of draft-dodging, desertions, and defections have left the Syrian 
military lacking sufficient manpower. In response, the Assad regime has 
launched large-scale arrests of military-age men through raids and 
checkpoints. For example, over the course of a 4-day period in October 
2014, more than 2,600 men were detained for service by government 
forces in the cities of Hama and Homs. Once detained, conscripts 
usually receive minimal training, and are often deployed to a frontline 
position within days of their arrest. Furthermore, conscripts have 
reported being held beyond the normal term of 18 months and forced to 
extend through multiple tours of duty.
    Daily bombings of homes, marketplaces, schools, hospitals, and 
places of worship have become commonplace for Syrian civilians living 
in major cities. The use of barrel bombs by the Assad regime is an 
ongoing occurrence in major population centers. Human Rights Watch 
reports that the Syrian military has dropped dozens of barrel bombs a 
day on opposition-held neighborhoods in Aleppo, Idlib, Dara'a and 
elsewhere. Amnesty International reports that relentless aerial 
bombardment and shelling by Syrian government forces is magnifying the 
suffering of civilians trapped under siege and facing an escalating 
humanitarian crisis in the Eastern Ghouta region. Between January and 
June 2015, the report indicates, Syrian government forces carried out 
over 60 airstrikes that resulted in over 500 civilian deaths.
    As of May 2016, nearly 11.3 million Syrians had been displaced from 
their homes since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, with over 1.2 
million estimated to have been displaced in 2015 alone. According to 
the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 50 
percent of displaced persons are children. Furthermore, an estimated 
4.6 million Syrians live in over 127 ``hard-to-reach'' and 18 
``besieged'' locations within Syria, and are unlikely to receive 
humanitarian assistance. By May 2016, the United Nations and ground 
partners were only able to reach 11.7 percent and 64.9 percent of 
people in these locations, respectively. By the end of 2014, Syrians 
represented 43 percent of all internally displaced

[[Page 50537]]

persons worldwide. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports 
that in 2015, a family was displaced every minute as a result of the 
protracted civil war and conflict. The humanitarian crisis in Syria 
continues to deteriorate, and the escalation of the conflict indicates 
that there is no immediate possibility for safe return.
    Based upon this review and after consultation with appropriate 
Government agencies, the Secretary finds that:
     The conditions that prompted the January 5, 2015 
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 October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018. 
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 October 1, 2016 through 
March 31, 2018. 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 August 1, 2016.
     The date by which TPS applicants must demonstrate that 
they have been continuously physically present in the United States is 
October 1, 2016, the effective date of the redesignation of Syria for 
TPS.
     There are approximately 5,800 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 2,500 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 2015 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 October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018, 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 August 1, 2016. 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 
periods that ran from January 5, 2015 through March 6, 2015, and that 
application was approved prior to August 1, 2016, then you need to file 
a re-registration application under the extension if you wish to 
maintain TPS benefits through March 31, 2018. You must use the 
Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) to re-register 
for TPS. The 60-day open reregistration period will run from August 1, 
2016 through September 30, 2016.
    I have a pending initial TPS application filed during the Syria TPS 
registration period that ran from January 5, 2015 through July 6, 2015. 
What should I do?
    If your TPS application is still pending on August 1, 2016, 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 March 31, 
2018. If you have a pending TPS application and you wish to have an EAD 
valid through March 31, 2018, 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 the   You received an     You must file a
 previous initial registration     EAD with Category   new Application
 periods for Syria TPS.            C19 or A12.         for Employment
                                                       Authorization
                                                       (Form I-765) with
                                                       fee (or fee
                                                       waiver request)
                                                       if you wish to
                                                       have a new EAD
                                                       valid through
                                                       March 31, 2018.
                                  You did not         You do not need to
                                   receive an EAD      file a new
                                   with Category C19   Application for
                                   or A12.             Employment
                                                       Authorization
                                                       (Form I-765). If
                                                       your TPS
                                                       application is
                                                       approved, your
                                                       Application for
                                                       Employment
                                                       Authorization
                                                       (Form I-765) will
                                                       be approved
                                                       through March 31,
                                                       2018.
You did not request an EAD        You wish to have    You must file a
 during the previous initial       an EAD valid        new Application
 registration period for Syria     through March 31,   for Employment
 TPS.                              2018.               Authorization
                                                       (Form I-765) with
                                                       fee (or fee
                                                       waiver request).
                                  You do not wish to  You do not need to
                                   have an EAD valid   file a new
                                   through March 31,   Application for
                                   2018.               Employment
                                                       Authorization
                                                       (Form I-765).
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[[Page 50538]]

    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 August 1, 2016 
through January 30, 2017.

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 and want an EAD, 
you must pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization 
(Form I-765), regardless of your age.
     If you are not requesting an EAD, regardless of whether 
you are applying for initial registration or re-registration, you do 
not pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form 
I-765).
    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 January 30, 
2017. 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. Postal    USCIS, Attn: TPS Syria, P.O.
 Service.                                    Box 6943, Chicago, IL 60680-
                                             6943.
You are using a non-U.S. Postal Service     USCIS, Attn: TPS Syria, 131
 delivery service.                           S. Dearborn 3rd Floor,
                                             Chicago, IL 60603-5517.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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. When submitting a re-registration application and/or 
requesting an EAD based on an IJ/BIA grant of TPS, please include a 
copy of the IJ or BIA order granting you TPS with your application. 
This will aid in the verification of your grant of TPS and processing 
of your application, as USCIS may not have received records of your 
grant of TPS by either the IJ or the BIA.

[[Page 50539]]

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.

Supporting Documents

    The filing instructions on the Application for Temporary Protected 
Status (Form I-821) list all the documents needed to establish basic 
eligibility for TPS. You may also find information on the acceptable 
documentation and other requirements for applying or registering for 
TPS on the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov/tps under ``Syria.''
    Do I need to submit additional supporting documentation?
    If one or more of the questions listed in Part 4, Question 2 of the 
Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) applies to you, 
then you must submit an explanation on a separate sheet(s) of paper 
and/or additional documentation.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

    How can I obtain information on the status of my EAD request?
    To get case status information about your TPS application, 
including the status of a request for an EAD, you can check Case Status 
Online at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer 
Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). If your Application 
for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) has been pending for more 
than 90 days and you still need assistance, you may request an EAD 
inquiry appointment with USCIS by using the InfoPass system at https://infopass.uscis.gov. However, we strongly encourage you first to check 
Case Status Online or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center 
for assistance before making an InfoPass appointment.
    Am I eligible to receive an automatic 6-month extension of my 
current EAD through March 31, 2017?
    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 September 30, 
2016, bearing the notation ``A-12'' or ``C-19'' on the face of the card 
under ``Category.''
    Although this Notice automatically extends your EAD through March 
31, 2017, 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). Or 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 September 30, 2016, 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 March 31, 2017 (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 should explain to your employer that 
USCIS has automatically extended your EAD through March 31, 2017. You 
may also show your employer a copy of this Federal Register Notice 
confirming the automatic extension of employment authorization through 
March 31, 2017. As an alternative to presenting your automatically 
extended EAD, you may choose to present any other acceptable document 
from List A, a combination of one selection from List B and one 
selection from List C, or a valid receipt.
    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 September 30, 2016, 
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, 2017 is reached to meet its 
responsibilities for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). 
Your employer may need to reinspect your automatically extended EAD to 
check the expiration date and code to record the updated expiration 
date on your Form I-9 if he or she did not keep a copy of this EAD when 
you initially presented it. However, your employer does not need a new 
document to reverify your employment authorization until March 31, 
2017, 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 March 31, 2017, 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 you 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.

[[Page 50540]]

    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 or proof of re-
registration for TPS when completing Employment Eligibility 
Verification (Form I-9) for new hires or reverifying the employment 
authorization of current employees. If 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 March 31, 2017, for purposes of employment 
authorization?
    After March 31, 2017, 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 March 31, 
2018, 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 March 31, 
2017, 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 (March 31, 
2017) 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 (March 31, 2017).
    By March 31, 2017, 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, your employer may need to reinspect your 
automatically extended EAD if your employer does not have a copy of the 
EAD on file, and 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 ``March 31, 2017'' 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 ``March 31, 2017'' 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 March 31, 2017, 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?
    E-Verify automated the verification process for employees whose TPS 
was automatically extended in a Federal Register Notice. If you have an 
employee who is a TPS beneficiary who provided a TPS-related EAD when 
he or she first started working for you, you will receive a ``Work 
Authorization Documents Expiring'' case alert when the auto-extension 
period for this EAD is about to expire. By March 31, 2017, employment 
authorization must be reverified in Section 3. Employers should not 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 reverification 
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, immigration status, or national 
origin, including discrimination 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,

[[Page 50541]]

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 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 for discrimination 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 or make an appointment can be found at the SAVE 
Web site at http://www.uscis.gov/save, then by choosing ``For Benefit 
Applicants'' from the menu on the right and then selecting ``Questions 
about Your Records?''
[FR Doc. 2016-17933 Filed 7-29-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 9111-97-P