What Is A Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status is a status offered to certain foreign nationals who are already in the United States. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security determines whether a foreign country is eligible as a result of natural disaster (hurricane or earthquake), epidemic, armed conflict or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. A grant of TPS allows the individual to live and work in the United States for a certain period of time. The countries are specifically enumerated and certain conditions must be met.
Countries Designated For Temporary Protected Status
As of this writing, the countries designated for TPS are:
• El Salvador;
• South Sudan;
• Syria; and
This list is subject to change.
Details About Temporary Protected Status
Temporary Protected Status is a protected status that does not lead to lawful permanent residence or give you any immigration status. However, a finding of eligibility for Temporary Protected Status does not prevent you from applying for other forms of immigration relief, assuming you are eligible. An application for Temporary Protected Status also does not impact pending applications.
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status. This occurs when that country cannot handle return of its nationals due to environmental disaster, armed conflict or when these temporary conditions prevent the safe return of the country’s nationals. Temporary Protected Status is also available for individuals without a nationality but who last resided in the country that was granted Temporary Protected Status before arriving in the United States.
As Temporary Protected Status is temporary, foreign nationals who are eligible can only register during a designated period. If granted Temporary Protected Status, the foreign national cannot be removed from the United States; can apply for and receive an employment authorization document (“work permit”) and may be granted authorization to travel.
Requirements for Eligibility
To be eligible for Temporary Protected Status, you must:
- Be a national of one of the designated countries, or if without nationality, a national who last resided in one of the specified countries;
- File within the registration period or the re-registration period. There are options for late filing if the country’s designation as Temporary Protected Status eligible is extended.
- Have been physically present in the United States since the most recent designation date for your country; and
- Have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country (there are exceptions to both the physical presence and continuous residence requirements, not discussed herein).
Bars to Eligibility
There are also bars to eligibility. These include convictions for certain crimes, failure to meet (re)registration requirements, inadmissibility under certain grounds in the Immigration and Nationality Act (criminal and security-related grounds), or a failure to meet the continuous residency and physical presence grounds.
How to File
You must use Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status to apply for Temporary Protected Status. There is a fee for this application if you are filing for the first time. There is also the possibility of a fee waiver, if you qualify.
Form I-821 can be filed simultaneously with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization Document. Filing these two forms at the same time may help you receive your work permit sooner, if you are eligible. If you need a waiver of certain inadmissibility grounds to obtain Temporary Protected Status, you must also file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
Supporting evidence regarding your identity, nationality, proof of date of entry to the United States, continuous residence and physical presence must be included with the forms to ensure a complete application.
Maintaining Temporary Protected Status
Temporary Protected Status is a temporary benefit and requires re-registration, if the country is still designated. It is important to stay abreast of the relevant dates and whether you are still eligible.
Temporary Protected Status can be a significant benefit for those individuals who cannot return to their country for a narrow list of circumstances. If already in the United States within the designation periods, a grant of Temporary Protected Status affords protection from removal, as well as the opportunity to work and live in the United States, and perhaps even travel. The requirements are strict and the countries with the Temporary Protected Status designation change over time.
It is important to consider all immigration options as Temporary Protected Status may not be the only one available to you. This article is intended to serve as an overview and doesn’t contemplate all possible scenarios. We are happy to assist in the consideration of your options, assessment of your eligibility and preparation of your application.
Have Questions About Temporary Protected Status in California? Schedule a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced Immigration Attorney in Novato, CA
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