Certain foreign countries are designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This can occur when conditions in that country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely; for example, when a country is experiencing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or an epidemic, it might be designated for TPS. Sometimes, a country is unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals, and that might also lead to TPS.
When a country is designated for TPS, eligible nationals who are already in the United States may be granted TPS. Also, eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may be granted TPS.
Once a country is designated for TPS, there is a registration period and eligible individuals must apply during that time. There are provisions for late applications, including for children and spouses of individuals eligible for TPS who must file their own applications.
When filing an initial TPS application, three categories of evidence must be submitted. First, identity and nationality evidence must demonstrate that the applicant is a national of a country designated for TPS or that he or she has no nationality but last resided in a country designated for TPS. Second, date of entry evidence must show when the applicant entered the United States. Third, continuously residing (CR) evidence must prove that the applicant has been in the United States for a certain duration of time depending on the immigrant’s individual circumstances. Any document submitted as evidence that is not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Individuals who have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States may not be eligible for TPS. Those individuals subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum (such as terrorist activity or persecution of another individual) or found inadmissible as an immigrant may not be eligible for TPS.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status (a green card); however, once granted TPS, an individual cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of his or her immigration status. Individuals who are eligible for TPS are not removable from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD), and may be granted travel authorization. Registering for TPS does not prevent an individual from applying for any other immigration benefit or protection he or she might be eligible for. Once an individual is granted TPS, he or she must re-register during re-registration periods to maintain benefits.
If you think that your home country might have been designated for Temporary Protected Status and you are interested in applying for TPS, you should meet with an experienced immigration attorney. Contact our office today for a consultation regarding Temporary Protected Status or any other immigration matter.