Menu | (904) 448-6646 | Email Us

Category Archives: Jacksonville

Great News for Syrian Nationals: TPS Designation soon available

USCIS has recently issued a notice that Syrian nationals will soon be eligible for TPS, which is an 18-month status that allows beneficiaries to receive employment authorization. TPS is short for “Temporary Protected Status” and is available for certain countries where there is national disaster or country conditions, etc.

The registration period has not yet opened, so we need to check for updates to determine when Syrian nationals can actually file for this relief.

Syrian Nationals can Now File for TPS

The USCIS has released a notice that Syrian nationals may now apply for TPS starting on March 29, 2012 until the deadline of September 25, 2012. The notice initially stated that the deadline is September 30, 2013, but this is incorrect. USCIS has released a new notice that clarifies that the deadline is in September of 2012. It is a good idea to file sooner than later, given the confusion over the correct deadline.

Individuals who habitually resided in Syria and are without nationality are also eligible for TPS. All applicants must present proof of residence here in the U.S. on March 29, 2012. Applicants with a criminal record may not be eligible for TPS, so individuals who have a criminal record and wish to apply for TPS should seek legal counsel before filing for TPS.

Examples of other countries eligible for TPS include El Salvador, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti.

New Notice to Appear Policy for Florida

As of May 16, 2011, USCIS local office in Tampa, Florida has instituted a new notice to appear policy for denials of I-751 cases. Once the I-751 case is denied, now USCIS will issue a notice to appear without waiting the required 30 day period within which applicants can file their motion for reconsideration.

A notice to appear is the charging document USCIS uses to place someone in removal proceedings. The notice to appear, also called NTA, should state all the allegations against the intending immigrant, and should also state a date or “soon to be announced” annotation for when and where the applicant must appear for immigration court. It is extremely important that the address for the applicant is correct on the Notice to Appear, and if it is not, then the applicant must take all precautions necessary to make sure the address gets corrected. Otherwise, applicants can fail to receive a hearing date and then be ordered deported in absentia. Once the case is filed with the immigration court, applicants can change their address with an immigration court by filing form EOIR-33/IC.

During the immigration court process, the applicant must explain to the Judge through filing certain application(s) for immigration relief as to why they should not be deported from the U.S.

This new policy of immediately issuing NTA’s upon denial has been confirmed as taking place by the USCIS office in Tampa, Florida. Although Jacksonville denies that they have accepted this procedure as their official policy, I know from a new client coming to my office that this procedure has taken place in the USCIS office in Jacksonville, FL, although certainly not consistently and only on a case by case basis.

This information is being provided because many applicants filing form I-751 believe that the process is simple, but unfortunately if the USCIS denies the case for any reason, this could now result in the applicants being placed in removal proceedings and possibly getting deported if the matter is not resolved favorably.


I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Ericka Bennett with Action News Jacksonville on November 16, 2010 regarding the issue of how much control police have in arresting undocumented individuals. I thank Ericka Bennett for the opportunity.

To read the article, please go to this link: