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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to publish a Federal Register notice on March 13, 2023, extending and redesignating Somalia for temporary protected status (TPS). DHS also announced special student relief for certain F-1 nonimmigrant Somali students.

TPS Extension

The extension of Somalia TPS is for 18 months from March 18, 2023 through September 17, 2024. Current beneficiaries under TPS for Somalia must re-register in a timely manner during the 60-day re-registration period from March 13, 2023 through May 9, 2023, to ensure they keep their TPS and work authorization.
All individuals who want to request TPS under Somalia’s designation must apply. Re-registration is limited to individuals who previously registered for and were granted TPS under Somalia’s prior designation. DHS said it recognizes that not all re-registrants may receive a new employment authorization document (EAD) before their current EAD expires and is automatically extending through March 17, 2024, the validity of certain EADs previously issued under Somalia’s TPS designation. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to process pending applications filed under Somalia’s previous TPS designation.

TPS Redesignation

Under the redesignation of Somalia, eligible individuals who do not have TPS may submit an initial Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the initial registration period that runs from March 13, 2023 through September 17, 2024. Applicants may also apply for TPS-related EADs and for travel authorization. Applicants can request an EAD by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821, or separately later. 

Special Student Relief

Effective March 18, 2023 through September 17, 2024, DHS is also suspending certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Somalia, regardless of country of birth (or individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia), and who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current crisis in Somalia. DHS said it is taking action to provide relief to these Somali students who are lawful F-1 nonimmigrant students “so the students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 nonimmigrant student status.”

DHS will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student granted employment authorization by means of the notice to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of the employment authorization, if the nonimmigrant student satisfies the minimum course load requirement described in the notice.

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