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Temporary Protected Status

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status or TPS is a designation issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security based on conditions in the country that temporarily prevents the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.

 

Reasons for designation of TPS include:

 

  • Ongoing armed conflict such as civil war,

 

  • An environmental disaster or an epidemic,

 

  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for TPS a noncitizen:

 

  • Must be a national of a country designated for TPS or be a person without nationality who last habitually resided in a designated country,

 

  • File the application during the open initial registration or re-registration period or the noncitizen meets the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of a country’s TPS designation,

 

  • Has been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of the TPS country,

 

  • Has been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for the TPS country.

Disqualifying Factors

A noncitizen is disqualified from TPS if the noncitizen:

 

  • Has been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States,

  • Has been found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds,

  • Is subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity,

  • Fails to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements,

  • Fails to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements,

  • If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.

Benefits Granted

A beneficiary of TPS protection is:

  • Not removable form the United States, which as a result can be used as a form of relief to halt a removal proceeding as well as removal based on an existing removal order.

  • May obtain an employment authorization document,

  • May be granted travel authorization.

Application

An applicant for TPS will need to file the form I-821 with the form I-765 requesting employment authorization. Evidence provided should prove the identity and nationality of the TPS applicant, date of entry into the United States, and evidence of continuous residence. A TPS application can be filed before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service also known as USCIS or in defense of a removal proceeding before the immigration court known as the EOIR. An immigration judge can also be requested to suspend or terminate proceedings to allow for filing of the I-821 before USCIS. TPS can be requested even if there is a pending removal order. We discuss removal proceedings here.

Potential for a Green Card?

If TPS is granted and a subsequent travel authorization document is requested in filing form I-131, if the TPS beneficiary traveled with the travel authorization outside the United States, upon re-entry into the United States, the TPS beneficiary may be eligible to apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process if the TPS beneficiary also has a qualifying relative known as an immediate relative. We have discussed eligibility for a green card based on family relationship here.

It is important to understand that TPS protection can be lost by the TPS beneficiary committing any of the disqualifying acts noted above and also if and when the Secretary of Homeland Security removes the designation from the TPS country.

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