On January 8, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for El Salvador will be terminated on September 9, 2019. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the “substantial disruption of living conditions caused by [a 2001] earthquake no longer exist[s].”

DHS said that to allow for an orderly transition for the estimated 200,000 affected people, the effective date of the termination of TPS for El Salvador will be delayed 18 months, to September 9, 2019, “to provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible.”

DHS said that the 18 months “will also provide time for El Salvador to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens.” During this time frame, DHS plans to work with the Department of State and the government of El Salvador “to help educate relevant stakeholders and facilitate an orderly transition.” In addition to posting materials online, DHS components will participate in teleconferences, town halls, and roundtables “to ensure that affected populations have a full and accurate understanding of their rights and obligations,” DHS said.

DHS also noted, “Only Congress can legislate a permanent solution addressing the lack of an enduring lawful immigration status of those currently protected by TPS who have lived and worked in the United States for many years. The 18-month delayed termination will allow Congress time to craft a potential legislative solution.”

Salvadorans with TPS will be required to re-register for TPS and apply for employment authorization documents to legally work in the United States until the termination of El Salvador’s TPS designation becomes effective on September 9, 2019. DHS said that further details, including the re-registration period, will appear in a Federal Register notice. Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries should not submit re-registration applications until the re-registration period is announced through the Federal Register notice.