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Notice

Extension of the Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Through this notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is extending the designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from March 18, 2020, through September 17, 2021. The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through September 17, 2021, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. This notice also sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Somalia (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) to re-register for TPS and to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will issue new EADs with a September 17, 2021, expiration date to eligible beneficiaries under Somalia's TPS designation who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension.

DATES:

Extension of Designation of Somalia for TPS: The 18-month extension of the TPS designation of Somalia is effective March 18, 2020, and will remain in effect through September 17, 2021. The 60-day re-registration period runs from March 11, 2020 through May 11, 2020. (Note: It is important for re-registrants to timely re-register during this 60-day period and not to wait until their EADs expire.)

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

  • You may contact Maureen Dunn, Chief, Humanitarian Affairs Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, by mail at 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2060, or by phone at 800-375-5283.
  • For further information on TPS, including guidance on the re-registration process and additional information on eligibility, please visit Start Printed Page 14230the USCIS TPS web page at www.uscis.gov/​tps. You can find specific information about this extension of Somalia's TPS designation by selecting “Somalia” from the menu on the left side of the TPS web page.
  • If you have additional questions about TPS, please visit uscis.gov/tools. Our online virtual assistant, Emma, can answer many of your questions and point you to additional information on our website. If you are unable to find your answers there, you may also call our USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).
  • Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases may check Case Status Online, available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).
  • Further information will also be available at local USCIS offices upon publication of this notice.
End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Abbreviations

BIA—Board of Immigration Appeals

CFR—Code of Federal Regulations

DHS—U.S. Department of Homeland Security

DOS—U.S. Department of State

EAD—Employment Authorization Document

FNC—Final Nonconfirmation

Form I-765—Application for Employment Authorization

Form I-797—Notice of Action

Form I-821—Application for Temporary Protected Status

Form I-9—Employment Eligibility Verification

Form I-912—Request for Fee Waiver

Form I-94—Arrival/Departure Record

FR—Federal Register

Government—U.S. Government

IJ—Immigration Judge

INA—Immigration and Nationality Act

IER—U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section

SAVE—USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program

Secretary—Secretary of Homeland Security

TNC—Tentative Nonconfirmation

TPS—Temporary Protected Status

TTY—Text Telephone

USCIS—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S.C.—United States Code

Through this notice, DHS sets forth procedures necessary for eligible nationals of Somalia (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) to re-register for TPS and to apply for renewal of their EADs with USCIS. Re-registration is limited to aliens who have previously registered for TPS under the designation of Somalia and whose applications have been granted.

For aliens who have already been granted TPS under Somalia's designation, the 60-day re-registration period runs from March 11, 2020 through May 11, 2020. USCIS will issue new EADs with a September 17, 2021, expiration date to eligible Somali TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS recognizes that all re-registrants may not receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on March 17, 2020. Accordingly, through this Federal Register notice, DHS automatically extends the validity of these EADs previously issued under the TPS designation of Somalia for 180 days, through September 13, 2020. Therefore, TPS beneficiaries who have EADs with: (1) A March 17, 2020 expiration date and (2) an A-12 or C-19 category code, can show these EADs as proof of continued employment authorization through September 13, 2020. This notice explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended and how this affects the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), E-Verify, and USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) processes.

Aliens who have a Somalia-based Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) and/or Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) that was still pending as of March 11, 2020 do not need to file either application again. If USCIS approves an alien's Form I-821, USCIS will grant the alien TPS through September 17, 2021. Similarly, if USCIS approves a pending TPS-related Form I-765, USCIS will issue the alien a new EAD that will be valid through the same date. There are currently approximately 454 beneficiaries under Somalia's TPS designation.

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 aliens 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, may not be removed, and are authorized to obtain EADs so long as they continue to meet the requirements of TPS.
  • TPS beneficiaries may also apply for and be granted travel authorization as a matter of discretion.
  • The granting of TPS does not result in or lead to lawful permanent resident status.
  • To qualify for TPS, beneficiaries must meet the eligibility standards at INA section 244(c)(1)-(2), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)-(2).
  • When the Secretary terminates a country's TPS designation, beneficiaries return to one of the following:

○ The same immigration status or category that they maintained before TPS, if any (unless that status or category has since expired or been terminated); or

○ Any other lawfully obtained immigration status or category they received while registered for TPS, as long as it is still valid beyond the date TPS terminates.

When was Somalia designated for TPS?

Somalia was initially designated on September 16, 1991, on the basis of extraordinary and temporary conditions in Somalia that prevented nationals of Somalia from safely returning. See Designation of Nationals of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, 56 FR 46804 (Sept. 16, 1991). Somalia's designation for TPS has been consecutively extended by multiple Administrations since its initial designation in 1991. Additionally, Somalia was newly designated for TPS in 2001, based on new extraordinary and temporary conditions. See Extension and Redesignation of Somalia under Temporary Protected Status Program, 66 FR 46288 (Sept. 4, 2001). In 2012, Somalia was again newly designated for TPS on the basis of extraordinary and temporary conditions and under the separate basis of ongoing armed conflict. See Extension and Redesignation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, 77 FR 25723 (May 1, 2012). Somalia's 2012 TPS designation was subsequently extended in 2013, 2015, 2107, and 2018. See Extension of the Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, 83 FR 43695 (Aug. 27, 2018).

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

Section 244(b)(1) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), authorizes the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the U.S. Government (Government), to designate a foreign state (or part thereof) for TPS if the Secretary determines that certain country conditions exist.[1] The decision Start Printed Page 14231to designate any foreign state (or part thereof) is a discretionary decision, and there is no judicial review of any determination with respect to the designation, or termination of, or extension of, a designation. The Secretary, in his discretion, may then grant TPS to eligible nationals of that foreign state (or eligible aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country). See INA section 244(a)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1)(A).

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 the 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 does not determine that the foreign state no longer meets the conditions for TPS designation, the designation will be extended for an additional period of 6 months or, in the Secretary's discretion, 12 or 18 months. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), (C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A), (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).

Why is the Secretary extending the TPS designation for Somalia through September 17, 2021?

DHS has reviewed conditions in Somalia. Based on the review, the Secretary has determined that an 18-month extension is warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions supporting Somalia's TPS designation remain.

Despite Somalia's peaceful political transition in 2017, the country is currently a terrorist safe haven, and the security situation remains volatile, with armed conflict continuing in 2018 and 2019. Civilians in Somalia continue to be displaced, injured, and killed as a result of conflicts involving government forces, clan militias, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), al Shabaab, and a splinter group of the self-described Islamic State (IS-Somalia). The United States has provided significant support for AMISOM and Somali efforts to counter al Shabaab, and U.S. military personnel advise, assist, and accompany regional forces during counterterrorism operations. U.S. air strikes in Somalia against members of al Qaeda and al Shabaab continued in 2018 and 2019 as well. Al Shabaab currently controls many rural areas in Somalia. IS-Somalia expanded activities in 2018 from its primary base in Somalia's Puntland region, establishing influence in Mogadishu. Both al Shabaab and IS-Somalia used a range of asymmetric tactics against AMISOM and Somali security forces, members of parliament, and other government personnel, as well as soft targets such as hotels, restaurants, and cafes. Al Shabaab launched multiple, often coordinated attacks on a regular basis throughout the country, using suicide bombers, Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices, ambush-style raids, targeted killings, and mortar attacks. On December 28, 2019, al Shabaab launched a suicide car bomb attack in Mogadishu. At least 79 civilians, including many students, were killed and at least 90 were wounded. It was reportedly the worst terrorist attack in Mogadishu since 2017. IS-Somalia carried out a number of roadside Improvised Explosive Device and small arms attacks, suicide bombings, and targeted killings, primarily in Bosasso in Puntland and the Bakara Market area of Mogadishu, as well as in smaller towns. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia reported 982 civilian casualties from January-October 2018, over half from al Shabaab attacks.

Civilians continue to suffer human rights abuses and violations, including those involving unlawful or arbitrary killings by security forces, clan militias, and unknown assailants; forced disappearances; torture; arbitrary and politically motivated arrests and detentions; forced evictions; sexual abuse; and the forced recruitment of children. Civilian movements are severely limited in many areas of the country due to regular and active hostilities or military operations, and al Shabaab restrictions on civilians leaving territory under its control.

According to a needs assessment conducted by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), approximately 4.2 million Somalis—37 percent of the country's estimated population of 11.3 million—required humanitarian assistance in 2019. UNOCHA reported that this represents a reduction as compared to previously reported figures, which UNOCHA attributed to improvements in the humanitarian situation, a more focused definition of humanitarian needs, and a change in how humanitarian needs are calculated.

As of December 2019, more than 2.6 million people in Somalia were displaced, representing an increase of more than 500,000 from the 2.1 million reported displaced as of April 2018, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Forced evictions, fed by growing population density and rising property prices, as well as weak land tenure protections, continue to negatively affect displaced populations in Somalia. According to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) 2018 Human Rights Report for Somalia, more than 204,000 displaced individuals were forced from their places of shelter in 2018, further undermining humanitarian efforts. 173,255 people were evicted from January-August 2019, with the majority of evictions taking place in Mogadishu.

According to UNHCR, there were 752,038 Somali refugees in neighboring countries as of December 2019. This is a decrease of more than 66,000 from the 819,000 reported refugees in neighboring countries as of May 2018. Since December 2014, more than 91,000 Somali refugees have voluntarily returned to Somalia with the assistance of UNHCR from countries including Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen. In addition, some 38,000 Somali nationals who had been in Yemen have returned to Somalia since March 2015. According to UNHCR, Somalia hosted 35,523 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Ethiopia (21,707) and Yemen (13,259).

Access to medical care continued to worsen in 2018 due to widespread violence, and Somalia's health system remains fragmented, under-resourced, and ill-equipped to provide lifesaving and preventative services. Three million people in Somalia require urgent and essential healthcare services, according to UNOCHA. Women and children are particularly exposed to elevated health risks—Somalia has the world's highest child mortality rate and faces the sixth highest lifetime maternal death risk in the world, also according to UNOCHA.

Somalia experienced signs of economic recovery in 2018. Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund reported Gross Domestic Product growth of 2.8 percent. The World Bank projects further growth of 3.0 to 3.5 percent in 2019 and 2020. Nevertheless, an estimated 69 percent of Somalia's population lives in poverty, the sixth highest poverty rate of all countries in the world. In 2018, average Start Printed Page 14232per capita income was $332 U.S. dollars per year, according to the World Bank.

Based upon this review, and after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, the Secretary has determined that:

  • The conditions supporting Somalia's designation 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 an ongoing armed conflict in Somalia and, due to such conflict, requiring the return to Somalia of Somali nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) 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 Somalia that prevent Somali nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) from returning to Somalia in safety, and it is not contrary to the national interest of the United States to permit Somali TPS beneficiaries 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 Somalia for TPS should be extended for an 18-month period, from March 18, 2020, through September 17, 2021. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

Notice of Extension of the TPS Designation of Somalia

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, the conditions supporting Somalia's designation for TPS continue to be met. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). On the basis of this determination, I am extending the existing designation of TPS for Somalia for 18 months, from March 18, 2020, through September 17, 2021. See INA section 244(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C).

Start Signature

Chad F. Wolf,

Acting Secretary.

End Signature

Required Application Forms and Application Fees to Re-Register for TPS

To re-register for TPS based on the designation of Somalia, you must submit an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). There is no Form I-821 fee for re-registration. See 8 CFR 244.17. You may be required to pay the biometric services fee. Please see additional information under the “Biometric Services Fee” section of this notice.

Through this Federal Register notice, your existing EAD issued under the TPS designation of Somalia with the expiration date of March 17, 2020, is automatically extended for 180 days, through September 13, 2020. Although not required to do so, if you want to obtain a new EAD valid through September 17, 2021, you must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and pay the Form I-765 fee (or submit a Request for a Fee Waiver (Form I-912)). If you do not want a new EAD, you do not have to file Form I-765 and pay the Form I-765 fee. If you do not want to request a new EAD now, you may also file Form I-765 at a later date and pay the fee (or request a fee waiver), provided that you still have TPS or a pending TPS application.

If you have a Form I-821 and/or Form I-765 that was still pending as of March 11, 2020, then you do not need to file either application again. If USCIS approves your pending TPS application, USCIS will grant you TPS through September 17, 2021. Similarly, if USCIS approves your pending TPS-related Form I-765, it will be valid through the same date.

You may file the application for a new EAD either prior to or after your current EAD has expired. However, you are strongly encouraged to file your application for a new EAD as early as possible to avoid gaps in the validity of your employment authorization documentation and to ensure that you receive your new EAD by September 13, 2020.

For more information on the application forms and fees for TPS, please visit the USCIS TPS web page at www.uscis.gov/​tps. Fees for the Form I-821, the 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 and older. Those applicants must submit a biometric services fee. As previously stated, if you are unable to pay the biometric services fee, you may complete a Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912). For more information on the application forms and fees for TPS, please visit the USCIS TPS web page at www.uscis.gov/​tps. If necessary, you may be required to visit an Application Support Center to have your biometrics captured. For additional information on the USCIS biometrics screening process, please see the USCIS Customer Profile Management Service Privacy Impact Assessment, available at www.dhs.gov/​privacy.

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

You should file as soon as possible within the 60-day re-registration period so USCIS can process your application and issue any EAD promptly. Properly filing early will also allow you to have time to refile your application before the deadline, should USCIS deny your fee waiver request. If, however, you receive a denial of your fee waiver request and are unable to refile by the re-registration deadline, you may still refile your Form I-821 with the biometrics fee. USCIS will review this situation to determine whether you established good cause for late TPS re-registration. However, you are urged to refile within 45 days of the date on any USCIS fee waiver denial notice, if possible. See INA section 244(c)(3)(C); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(3)(C); 8 CFR 244.17(b). For more information on good cause for late re-registration, visit the USCIS TPS web page at www.uscis.gov/​tps. Following denial of your fee waiver request, you may also refile your Form I-765 with fee either with your Form I-821 or at a later time, if you choose.

Note: Although a re-registering TPS beneficiary age 14 and older must pay the biometric services fee (but not the Form I-821 fee) when filing a TPS re-registration application, you may decide to wait to request an EAD. Therefore, you do not have to file the Form I-765 or pay the associated Form I-765 fee (or request a fee waiver) at the time of re-registration, and can wait to seek an EAD until after USCIS has approved your TPS re-registration application. If you choose to do this, to re-register for TPS you would only need to file the Form I-821 with the biometrics services fee, if applicable, (or request a fee waiver).

Mailing Information

Mail your application for TPS to the proper address in Table 1.Start Printed Page 14233

Table 1—Mailing Addresses

If you would like to send your application by:Then, mail your application to:
U.S. Postal ServiceU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Attn: TPS Somalia, P.O. Box 6943, Chicago, IL 60680-6943.
A non-U.S. Postal Service courierU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Attn: TPS Somalia, 131 S Dearborn Street—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 mailing address in Table 1. When re-registering and 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 help us to verify your grant of TPS and process your application.

Supporting Documents

The filing instructions on the Form I-821 list all the documents needed to establish eligibility for TPS. You may also find information on the acceptable documentation and other requirements for applying or registering for TPS on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/​tps under “Somalia.”

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 an EAD request, you can check Case Status Online at www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). If your 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 at my.uscis.gov/en/appointment/v2. However, we strongly encourage you first to check Case Status Online or call the USCIS Contact Center for assistance before requesting an appointment online.

Am I eligible to receive an automatic 180-day extension of my current EAD through September 13, 2020, through this Federal Register notice?

Yes. Provided that you currently have a Somalia TPS-based EAD with a marked expiration date of March 17, 2020, bearing the notation A-12 or C-19 on the face of the card under Category, this notice automatically extends your EAD through September 13, 2020. Although this Federal Register notice automatically extends your EAD through September 13, 2020, you must re-register timely for TPS in accordance with the procedures described in this Federal Register notice to maintain your TPS.

When hired, what documentation may I show to my employer as evidence of employment authorization and identity when completing Form I-9?

You can find the Lists of Acceptable Documents on the third page of Form I-9 as well as the Acceptable Documents web page at www.uscis.gov/​i-9-central/​acceptable-documents. Employers must complete Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new employees. Within 3 days of hire, employees must present acceptable documents to their employers as evidence of identity and employment authorization to satisfy Form I-9 requirements.

You may present any document from List A (which provides evidence of both identity and employment authorization), or one document from List B (which provides evidence of your identity) together with one document from List C (which provides evidence of employment authorization), or you may present an acceptable receipt as described in the Form I-9 instructions. Employers may not reject a document based on a future expiration date. You can find additional information about Form I-9 on the I-9 Central web page at www.uscis.gov/​I-9Central.

An EAD is an acceptable document under List A. See the section “How do my employer and I complete Form I-9 using my automatically extended employment authorization for a new job?” of this Federal Register notice for further information. If your EAD has an expiration date of March 17, 2020, and states A-12 or C-19 under Category, it has been extended automatically by virtue of this Federal Register notice and you may choose to present your EAD to your employer as proof of identity and employment eligibility for Form I-9 through September 13, 2020, unless your TPS has been withdrawn or your request for TPS has been denied. If you have an EAD with a marked expiration date of March 17, 2020, that states A-12 or C-19 under Category, and you received a Notice of Action (Form I-797C) that states your EAD is automatically extended for 180 days, you may choose to present your EAD to your employer together with this Form I-797C as a List A document that provides evidence of your identity and employment authorization for Form I-9 through September 13, 2020, unless your TPS has been withdrawn or your request for TPS has been denied. See the subsection titled, “How do my employer and I complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using my automatically extended employment authorization for a new job?” for further information.

As an alternative to presenting evidence of 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 an acceptable receipt.

What documentation may I present to my employer for Form I-9 if I am already employed but my current TPS-related EAD is set to expire?

Even though your EAD has been automatically extended, your employer is required by law to ask you about your continued employment authorization, and you will need to present your employer with evidence that you are still authorized to work. Once presented, your employer should update the EAD expiration date in Section 2 of Form I-9. See the section “What corrections should my current employer make to Form I-9 if my employment authorization has been automatically extended?” of this Federal Register notice for further information. You may show this Federal Register notice to your employer to explain what to do for Form I-9 and to show that your EAD has been automatically extended through September 13, 2020. Your employer may need to re-inspect your automatically extended EAD to check the Card Expires date and Category code if your employer did not keep a copy of your EAD when you initially presented it.

The last day of the automatic extension for your EAD is September 13, 2020. Before you start work on September 14, 2020, your employer is required by law to reverify your Start Printed Page 14234employment authorization in Section 3 of Form I-9. At that time, you must present any document from List A or any document from List C on Form I-9, Lists of Acceptable Documents, or an acceptable List A or List C receipt described in the Form I-9 instructions to reverify employment authorization.

If your original Form I-9 was a previous version, your employer must complete Section 3 of the current version of Form I-9, and attach it to your previously completed Form I-9. Your employer can check the I-9 Central web page at www.uscis.gov/​I-9Central for the most current version of Form I-9.

Your employer may not specify which List A or List C document you 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 Somali citizenship or a Form I-797C showing I re-registered for TPS?

No. When completing Form I-9, including reverifying employment authorization, employers must accept any documentation that appears on the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents that reasonably appears to be genuine and that relates to you, or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt. Employers need not reverify List B identity documents. Employers may not request documentation that does not appear on the Lists of Acceptable Documents. Therefore, employers may not request proof of Somali citizenship or proof of re-registration for TPS when completing Form I-9 for new hires or reverifying the employment authorization of current employees. If presented with an EAD that has been automatically extended, employers should accept such a document as a valid List A document, so long as the EAD reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the employee. Refer to the “Note to Employees” section of this Federal Register 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.

How do my employer and I complete Form I-9 using my automatically extended employment authorization for a new job?

When using an automatically extended EAD to complete Form I-9 for a new job before September 14, 2020, for Section 1, you should:

a. Check “An alien authorized to work until” and enter September 13, 2020 as the expiration date; and

b. Enter your USCIS number or A-Number where indicated (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).

For Section 2, your employer should:

a. Determine if the EAD is auto-extended by ensuring it is in Category A-12 or C-19 and has a Card Expires date of March 17, 2020;

b. Write in the document title;

c. Enter the issuing authority;

d. Enter either the employee's A-Number or USCIS number from Section 1 in the Document Number field on Form I-9; and

e. Write September 13, 2020, as the expiration date.

Before the start of work on September 14, 2020, employers must reverify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3 of Form I-9.

What corrections should my current employer make to Form I-9 if my employment authorization has been automatically extended?

If you presented a TPS-related EAD that was valid when you first started your job and your EAD has now been automatically extended, your employer may need to re-inspect your current EAD if the employer does not have a copy of the EAD on file. Your employer should determine if your EAD is automatically extended by ensuring that it contains Category A-12 or C-19 and has a Card Expires date of March 17, 2020. If your employer determines that your EAD has been automatically extended, your employer should update Section 2 of your previously completed Form I-9 as follows:

a. Write EAD EXT and September 13, 2020, as the last day of the automatic extension in the Additional Information field; and

b. Initial and date the correction.

Note: This is not considered a reverification. Employers do not need to complete Section 3 until either the 180-day automatic extension has ended or the employee presents a new document to show continued employment authorization, whichever is sooner. By September 14, 2020, when the employee's automatically extended EAD has expired, employers are required by law to reverify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3. If your original Form I-9 was a previous version, your employer must complete Section 3 of the current version of Form I-9 and attach it to your previously completed Form I-9. Your employer can check the I-9 Central web page at www.uscis.gov/​I-9Central for the most current version of Form I-9.

If I am an employer enrolled in E-Verify, how do I verify a new employee whose EAD has been automatically extended?

Employers may create a case in E-Verify for a new employee by providing the employee's A-Number or USCIS number from Form I-9 in the Document Number field in E-Verify.

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 has automated the verification process for TPS-related EADs that are automatically extended. If you have employees who provided a TPS-related EAD when they 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. Before this employee starts work on September 14, 2020, you must reverify his or her employment authorization in Section 3 of Form I-9. 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 Federal Register 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 877-875-6028) or email USCIS at I9Central@dhs.gov. USCIS accepts calls and emails in English and many other languages. For questions about avoiding discrimination during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify), employers may call the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) Employer Hotline at 800-255-8155 (TTY 800-237-2515). IER offers language interpretation in numerous languages. Employers may also email IER at IER@usdoj.gov.

Note to Employees

For general questions about the employment eligibility verification process, employees may call USCIS at Start Printed Page 14235888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028) or email USCIS at I-9Central@dhs.gov. USCIS accepts calls in English, Spanish, and many other languages. Employees or applicants may also call the IER Worker 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 IER Worker Hotline provides language interpretation in numerous languages.

To comply with the law, employers must accept any document or combination of documents from the Lists 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 Form I-9 Instructions. Employers may not require extra or additional documentation beyond what is required for 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 an employee's Form I-9 differs from records available to DHS.

Employers may not terminate, suspend, delay training, withhold pay, lower pay, or take any adverse action against an employee because of the TNC while 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 877-875-6028). For more information about E-Verify-related discrimination or to report an employer for discrimination in the E-Verify process based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, contact IER's Worker Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515). Additional information about proper nondiscriminatory Form I-9 and E-Verify procedures is available on the IER website at www.justice.gov/​ier and on the USCIS and E-Verify websites at www.uscis.gov/​i-9-central and www.e-verify.gov.

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

For Federal purposes, TPS beneficiaries presenting an EAD referenced in this Federal Register Notice do not need to show any other document, such as an I-797C Notice of Action, to prove that they qualify for this extension. However, 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, show you are authorized to work based on TPS or other status, and/or that may be used by DHS to determine whether you have TPS or other immigration status. Examples of such documents are:

  • Your current EAD;
  • A copy of your Form I-797C, Notice of Action, for your Form I-765 providing an automatic extension of your currently expired or expiring EAD;
  • A copy of your Form I-797C, Notice of Action, for your Form I-821 for this re-registration;
  • A copy of your Form I-797, the notice of approval, for a past or current Form I-821, if you received one from USCIS; and
  • Any other relevant DHS-issued document that indicates your immigration status or authorization to be in the United States, or that may be used by DHS to determine whether you have such status or authorization to remain in the United States.

Check with the government agency regarding which document(s) the agency will accept. Some benefit-granting agencies use the USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program to confirm the current immigration status of applicants for public benefits. While SAVE can verify when an alien has TPS, each agency's procedures govern whether they will accept an unexpired EAD, I-797, or I-94. You should:

a. Present the agency with a copy of the relevant Federal Register notice showing the extension of TPS-related documentation in addition to your recent TPS-related document with your alien or I-94 number;

b. Explain that SAVE will be able to verify the continuation of your TPS using this information; and

c. Ask the agency to initiate a SAVE query with your information and follow through with additional verification steps, if necessary, to get a final SAVE response showing the validity of your TPS.

You can also ask the agency to look for SAVE notices or contact SAVE if they have any questions about your immigration status or auto-extension of TPS-related documentation. In most cases, SAVE provides an automated electronic response to benefit-granting agencies within seconds, but, occasionally, verification can be delayed. You can check the status of your SAVE verification by using CaseCheck at save.uscis.gov/casecheck/, then by clicking the “Check Your Case” button. CaseCheck is a free service that lets you follow the progress of your SAVE verification using your date of birth and one immigration identifier number. If 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 appointment for an in-person interview at a local USCIS office. Detailed information on how to make corrections or update your immigration record, make an appointment, or submit a written request to correct records under the Freedom of Information Act can be found on the SAVE website at www.uscis.gov/​save.

End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

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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[FR Doc. 2020-04976 Filed 3-10-20; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 9111-97-P