Understanding Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

As the title indicates, TPS is only temporary relief for temporary conditions. The Secretary of Homeland Security designates which countries are designated for TPS as well as when that designation expires. Some of the countries that are currently designated for TPS at the time of this writing include Syria, Somalia, Haiti, El Salvador, Yemen, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sudan, and South Sudan. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS based on an ongoing conflict like a civil war, an environmental disaster like an earthquake or tsunami, or some other temporary and extraordinary situation. If an individual from a TPS designated country is found initially eligible for relief upon a preliminary review of their case, he or she will be protected from removal from the US, may seek an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that will allow them to work in the US during their stay, and they may be granted travel authorization. In order to be eligible, an applicant must be a national of a TPS designated country, they must be currently in the United States, have Currently Resided (CR) in the US since a date designated by USCIS, have been Continuously Physically Present (CPP) here since their country’s most recent TPS designation date, and they must file for TPS during the initial open registration period or a designated re-registration period (or qualify for late initial filing). Applicants will need to show evidence of their identity, nationality, date of entry, and continuous residence in the US. They may be automatically disqualified from TPS if they have a criminal record (one or more felony OR two or more misdemeanors), are found inadmissible based on security grounds, or if the applicant is subject to any mandatory bars to asylum. Once an applicant is granted TPS, they will also be protected from being detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of their immigration status. They should receive an EAD and will be able to remain in the US until their country’s TPS designation expires (the initial designation will last between 6 and 18 months, but it can be extended). Keep in mind, TPS is truly a temporary solution. It does not provide any route or specific right to obtain residency or any other immigration status. Those who are granted TPS, however, may actively seek to apply for nonimmigrant status, file for an adjustment of status, apply for other immigration protections for which they may be eligible. Applying for and maintaining Temporary Protected Status is a complex process, and with so much at stake it is important that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney regarding your eligibility and application for TPS. If you are denied TPS after applying, your attorney can also assist you with an appeals process. To learn more about TPS or for legal assistance with all aspects of the US immigration process, please contact the attorneys at Landerholm Immigration today.

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