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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

Answers to Your Comments About Haiti

Release Date:

As we've continued to post updates on the situation in Haiti, our readers have continued to post comments with questions on immigration benefits for Haitians. We received comments focused on five areas in particular, and wanted to post answers for each:

1. I am a Haitian in the U.S. on a temporary work/visit/study (etc.) visa and I don't believe I qualify for TPS. Is there anything I can do to extend my stay?

If you were in the United States on January 12, 2010, regardless of your immigration status on that date, you may be eligible to apply for TPS. More information on TPS eligibility for Haiti can be found on our Temporary Protected Status-Haiti page.

If you currently have a valid nonimmigrant status (student, temporary worker, visit, etc.) and would like to extend your stay, please review the information provided in the "Working in the U.S." or "Visit the U.S." sections of our website. You may also review the instructions on Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status, and Form I-129, Application for Temporary Worker (the form you would use to extend your nonimmigrant status depends on your current nonimmigrant status).

2. I am not a Haitian and am unhappy that prioritization of Haitian applications will take away resources from my application and slow down the process.

USCIS placed the adjudication of TPS applications in offices that had the experience and capacity to adjudicate these cases without negatively impacting the processing times of other applications and petitions. USCIS has not stopped adjudicating some applications in order to adjudicate applications for TPS. We are adjudicating all applications and petitions that we receive and strive to adjudicate all within our processing time goals.

3. I am a U.S. citizen or green card holder with family in Haiti who have been seriously impacted by the earthquake. Is there anything I can do to bring them to the United States - even temporarily?

If you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you may petition for certain relatives to come to the United States permanently. Information on petitioning for a relative may be found in the "Family" section of our website.

Relatives may come to the United States temporarily if they are eligible to receive a nonimmigrant visa. Information about visiting the United States temporarily can be found in the "Visit the U.S." section of out site.

4. Why are Haitians who were illegal immigrants in the U.S. reaping all the benefits of TPS as opposed to helping those actually hit hardest by the earthquake?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is designed to provide a temporary means to remain in the United States for those who cannot return to their country. TPS should not be viewed as a reward for possibly being in the United States without a valid immigration status, rather it should be viewed as an act of compassion during a time of need.

USCIS has taken steps to also assist those in Haiti who have been impacted by the earthquake. In addition to the work that our staff in Haiti has done and continues to do, USCIS has assisted many orphans in coming to the United States and has been expediting the processing of petitions filed on behalf of relatives in Haiti.

5. How do we finalize an adoption for a child already in the U.S. without a Haitian adoption decree?

We have received this question from several adoptive parents and we are currently working on a plan to address this issue. When a plan has been finalized, we will post this information on our website. Additional information about adoptions from Haiti can be found on our "Questions and Answers: Information for Adoptive Parents of Paroled Haitian Orphans" page.