What is TPS (Temporary Protected Status)?

By Ruth Jean

For many foreign nationals in the United States (authorized or not authorized), events in their native country have made it imprudent or unsafe to return home. Perhaps armed conflict has broken out, or maybe a natural disaster has damaged major cities or critical infrastructure. If they go back, they could face disease, injury, or death. 

The U.S. government recognizes this unfortunate reality by offering Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to citizens or nationals of these countries, so that they cannot be compelled to leave before things improve at home. In this blog, we’ll go over how TPS works and how Attorney Ruth Jean can help you seek this protection if it applies to you.

What Makes a Country Receive TPS Designation?

A foreign country may receive TPS status if it is experiencing conditions that temporarily prevent its citizens or nationals from returning safely. These conditions include:

  • Ongoing armed conflict
  • A natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake
  • Other situations deemed extraordinary and temporary

During the period of designation, citizens or nationals of these countries are not removable from the U.S., can obtain employment authorization, and may be granted authorization to travel.

You can find a list of affected countries on the USCIS website.

Who is Eligible for TPS?

To be eligible for TPS, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a national of a designated country OR someone without nationality whose last regular home was in that country.
  • File for TPS during the specified registration periods, unless you qualify for a late filing.
  • Be able to show that you have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since your country’s most recent designation date
  • Be able to show that you were continuously residing in the U.S. since your country’s designation date. (There are some exceptions for casual and brief departures., which an attorney can explain to you.)

If any of the following apply to your case, you may not be eligible for TPS or could lose your existing designation:

  • You have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S.
  • You are inadmissible to the U.S. under any of the grounds listed in INA section 212(a)
  • You are barred from seeking asylum for reasons like inciting terrorist activity or persecuting another person.
  • You failed to meet the continuous physical presence and residence requirements.
  • You failed to meet TPS registration requirements or failed to re-register without good cause.

Does TPS Lead to Lawful Permanent Resident Status?

Being a temporary protection, TPS, in and of itself, does not entitle you to lawful permanent resident status. However, you can still file for an adjustment of status or seek any other immigration benefit for which you may be eligible. For example, if you marry a U.S. citizen, he or she may be able to sponsor you for a green card, or your employer could sponsor you for an employment-related immigration petition.

Contact an Immigration Attorney

If your country of origin currently has Temporary Protected Status designation, contact Attorney Ruth Jean for assistance. She will help you file your application, review the immigration status you held before TPS, and go over your future options, which may include adjustment of status and eventual U.S. citizenship. To schedule a confidential consultation, please call (954) 278-9332.