What is Temporary Protective Status or TPS?

Every so often, the Department of Homeland Security designates a country for Temporary Protective Status when circumstances beyond anyone’s control prevents citizens of that country to return safely, or in some cases, when the country cannot handle the safe return of its own citizens. Because the Temporary Protective Status is for individuals who cannot return their home country, the status is only given to citizens of temporarily protected countries that are physically present in the United States when the TPS is designated.

Following are example conditions for TPS:

  • Ongoing armed conflict, for example a civil war;
  • A natural disaster, catastrophe, or an epidemic;
  • Other temporary or extraordinary conditions.

As its name suggests, TPS is temporary. During the designation period, beneficiaries of the TPS who are found eligible upon initial review will:

  • Not be removed or deported from the United States, even if the beneficiary’s visa to the Untied States is bound to expire during the designation period;
  • Be able to obtain an employment authorization;
  • Be able to petition for authorization to travel outside of the United States and return to the United States during the designated period without a visa.

Unfortunately, TPS is temporary and will not lead to permanent residence (green card). However, if the beneficiary otherwise qualifies he or she may:

  • Apply for nonimmigrant status;
  • File for an adjustment of status based on an immigration petition (for example marriage to a US citizen or permanent resident, or any other visa or asylum that will grant permanent residence);
  • Apply for any other immigration petition or protection that the beneficiary qualifies.

To be eligible for TPS, the applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a country designated for TPS by the Department of Homeland Security, or a person without nationality who habitually resided in the designated country;
  • File during the open registration or re-registration period;
  • Has been continuously present physically in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation;
  • Has never been convicted of any felony or more than two misdemeanors in the United States;
  • Has never been found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in the INA 212(a), including non-waivable criminal or security related grounds.

For a list of recent TPS designations or find out how to become a beneficiary of a TPS, contact Kristy Qiu, a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale immigration attorney today!