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Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of humanitarian relief and it has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people since it was first established by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. As of February 2022, there were approximately 354,625 foreign nationals who were living in the United States under TPS. 

Reasons a Country can be Designated for TPS

The Secretary of Homeland Security has the discretionary authority to decide whether a country merits a TPS designation. Generally speaking, such designation would be warranted if a country is experiencing problems that temporarily would prevent its nationals from returning safely, or in some cases, where a country is unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals. More specifically, a country can be designated for TPS for the following reasons:

  • An ongoing armed conflict (like civil war or an invasion, as is the case with Ukraine);
  • An environmental disaster (hurricanes, earthquakes, epidemics);
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions that would render it unsafe for its nationals to return.

A TPS designation can be made for 6, 12, or 18 months at a time. At least 60 days prior to the expiration of TPS, the Secretary of Homeland Security has to decide whether to extend or end the designation. If an extension or termination decision is not published at least 60 days in advance of the expiration date, the designation is automatically extended for another six months.

TPS Eligibility

There are several requirements that you have to meet in order to qualify for TPS:

  • Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country;
  • File during the open initial registration or re-registration period;
  • Have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation; and
  • Have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country.

Very importantly, the individual’s immigration status at the time of applying for TPS has no effect on eligibility, even if there is a previously issued order of removal.

However, there are certain factors that could preclude an individual from being eligible for TPS. For example, any felony conviction or a conviction for two or more misdemeanors in the US would be grounds for ineligibility. Other grounds of ineligibility are: if you are found inadmissible to the US, including for certain criminal or national security-related reasons; or if you are subject to any mandatory bars to asylum, including, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity.

Benefits of TPS

While TPS is a temporary benefit that doesn’t lead to permanent resident status on its own, it does grant certain protections and benefits, including:

  • You cannot be deported while on TPS;
  • You can receive work authorization;
  • You can apply and may be granted travel authorization.

Moreover, a TPS does not prevent you from filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition or applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible.

When a TPS designation ends, a TPS beneficiary would return to the status they held before being granted TPS, unless the status had expired, or the beneficiary had obtained a different status. Importantly, a TPS holder who had entered the US without inspection and who is not eligible for another benefit, would return to being undocumented and would become subject to removal, after the TPS designation ends. 

Hiring a California Immigration Attorney

For assistance in applying for TPS or if you are on TPS and are seeking to apply for other immigration benefits, please call The Justice Firm locally at (310) 914-2444 or Toll-Free at (866) 695-6714 or visit us on our website. Our immigration attorneys serve clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties.

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