Immigration Update

Mar 20, 2023 | Immigration Updates

In this edition, find the latest news on enforcement date of Real ID, extension for certain paroled Ukrainians, Somalia for TPS, and more! 

DHS Delays Enforcement Date for Real ID

On May 3, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an interim final rule extending the REAL ID card-based enforcement deadline to May 3, 2023. A new final rule published March 9, 2023, further extends the date for card-based enforcement of the REAL ID regulations to May 7, 2025. Beginning on that date, federal agencies cannot accept a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for official purposes unless it is REAL ID compliant. As of March 26, 2021, 55 states and territories are fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements issuing compliant licenses and IDs by the May 7, 2025 deadline.

Current regulations also permit federal agencies to accept noncompliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes until May 2, 2023. The final rule also extends that date, authorizing federal agencies to continue to accept noncompliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes until May 6, 2025. 

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DHS Announces Extension for Certain Paroled Ukrainians

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will consider, on a case-by-case basis, a one-year extension of parolee status for the estimated 25,000 Ukrainian nationals and immediate family members who were paroled into the United States at a land border before the Uniting for Ukraine program began. 

Specifically, Ukrainians paroled into the United States at a port of entry between February 24, 2022, and April 25, 2022, will be considered for the one-year extension. DHS said it is considering these individuals, on a case-by-case basis, for the one-year extension to align with the two-year parole period provided under Uniting for Ukraine. DHS estimates that it will take approximately four weeks to consider and vet all the individuals in the group. The agency will review cases based on the date of parole. 

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DHS Extends and Redesignates Somalia for TPS, Announces Student Relief 

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, DHS said. 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, DHS said.  

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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LPRs May Receive Temporary Evidence of Status by Mail, USCIS Says 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 16, 2023, that certain lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may receive temporary evidence of their status by mail rather than physically visiting a field office to receive an Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) stamp (also known as an I-551 stamp). 

USCIS said LPRs are entitled to evidence of status and may require temporary evidence of their status in the form of an ADIT stamp if: 

  • They do not have their green card; or 
  • Their Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (green card), Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is still pending adjudication and their green card and extension notice have expired. 

This alternate Form I-94 with an ADIT stamp is an acceptable List A receipt for Form I-9 and E-Verify purposes, USCIS said. Some lawful permanent residents will still need to appear in person at a USCIS field office to receive temporary evidence of their status, including those who have urgent needs, do not have a useable photo in USCIS systems, or whose address or identity cannot be confirmed. 

When an LPR calls the USCIS Contact Center (800-375-5283 or 800-767-1833 [TDD for the hearing impaired]) to request temporary evidence of status, an immigration services officer will verify their identity, physical mailing address, and whether that address can receive UPS or FedEx express mail. The officer will then either create an in-person appointment if needed or submit a request to the field office to initiate the creation of the temporary evidence. If an in-person appointment is not needed, a USCIS field office will review the request for temporary evidence and mail the applicant a Form I-94 with ADIT stamp, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seal, and a printed photo of the LPR obtained from USCIS systems. 

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