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Immigration To The U.S. And Temporary Protected Status

At Wilson Law Group in Minneapolis, our immigration lawyers have been helping noncitizens obtain the appropriate visas and immigration permissions since 2003. If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for temporary protected status, our experienced attorneys can analyze your case and assist you with the best immigration options that are available for you.

What Is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary protected status (TPS) is a special immigration status granted to nationals of certain countries that have experienced extreme political unrest, a natural disaster, or other extraordinary condition. TPS is a temporary designation for countries where the U.S. government believes that conditions prevent its citizens from returning safely or where the country needs time to stabilize before accepting the return of its citizens.

What Are The Benefits Of TPS?

Persons granted TPS receive employment authorization in the United States for the duration of the TPS designation period.  TPS holders are not removable from the U.S. while they hold TPS status.  In certain circumstances, they may also be eligible to apply for authorization to travel abroad.

Can TPS Lead To Permanent Immigration Status In The U.S.?

TPS is intended to be a temporary status. When conditions in the home country significantly improve, the U.S. can terminate TPS designation for that country. TPS is not intended to be a permanent form of immigration status, and does not in itself result in lawful permanent residency status in the U.S.

However, nothing prevents TPS holders from seeking other forms of permanent immigration status in the U.S. if they are eligible through some other means.

What Countries Have TPS Designation?

Currently, the following countries have been designated for TPS:

  • Afghanistan
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cameroon
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services monitors and maintains the list of countries that are designated for TPS status, and the list is constantly changing.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For TPS?

To be eligible for TPS, the applicant must:

  • Be a national of a country designated for TPS status, or be a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country
  • File an application during the initial TPS registration period for their country
  • Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the effective date of the most recent TPS designation for their country
  • Have been continuously residing in the U.S. since the date designated by the government in the TPS designation

When Is Someone Ineligible For TPS Status?

Potential TPS applicants are ineligible to receive status if:

  • They have been convicted of criminal activity, that includes a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S.
  • They have participated in the persecution of others or been involved in terrorist activity.
  • They fail to meet the physical presence or continuous residence requirements.
  • They are inadmissible to the U.S. under certain criminal or security grounds which are not waivable.
  • They fail to register during the initial registration period and do not qualify for late registration.
  • They fail to re-register during any re-designation period.

Certain people qualify to apply for TPS outside the initial registration period, in which case late registration may be available.

Who Is Eligible For Late Registration?

Late registration is available to persons who, during the initial registration period for their country:

  • Met all of the basic TPS eligibility requirements, including physical presence and continuous residence
  • Had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum or voluntary departure or any other relief from removal pending
  • Was a nonimmigrant, was granted voluntary departure or any other relief from removal
  • Was a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole
  • Was married to someone with TPS status
  • Applies for TPS status within 60 days of the expiration of one of the above conditions

Minor children (under 21 years old & unmarried) of TPS eligible individuals are also eligible for late registration if their parent was TPS eligible during an initial registration period. Minor children have no time limit for filing late applications and remain eligible even if they subsequently marry or are over 21 years old.

Can TPS Holders Travel Abroad?

Persons with TPS status may be eligible to apply for permission to travel abroad and return lawfully. This permission is called advance parole.

A recent case from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) confirms that TPS holders who leave the U.S. and return on advance parole do not trigger an unlawful presence bar upon leaving. Those persons would therefore not need to waive unlawful presence if they become eligible to seek permanent immigration status later.

Schedule A Free Consultation With An Immigration Attorney

Our immigration attorneys at Wilson Law Group offer free initial consultations. If you have questions about TPS and whether or not you qualify, we encourage you to schedule a case assessment with one of our experienced lawyers. You can schedule your free appointment by calling our office at 612-430-8022 or by sending us an email through our website.