Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
January 19, 2024

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In March 2011, the U.S Government added Venezuelans and Burmese to the list of people eligible for Temporary Protected Status, a program that provides immigrants from designated countries with time-limited permission to live and work in the United States.

What is TPS?  

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of designated countries (or parts thereof). In 1990 Congress established a procedure (IMMACT 90) by which the Attorney General may provide TPS to nationals of a particular country who are in the United States and are unable to return to their homeland due to:

  • Ongoing armed conflict

Ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to that conflict, the return of nationals to that state would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.

  • An environmental disaster

An environmental disaster resulting in a substantial, temporary disruption of living conditions, the state is temporarily unable to adequately handle returning nationals and the state therefore requests TPS designation.

  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the state​

Other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the state that prevent nationals from returning safely, unless the Attorney General finds that permitting nationals of the state to remain temporarily is contrary to the national interest of the United States.

How long are TPS designations?

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 U.S government must decide whether to extend or terminate a designation based on the conditions in the foreign country. If an extension or termination decision is not published at least 60 days in advance of expiration, the designation is automatically extended for six months.

Who can apply for TPS?

To apply for TPS, an individual must:

  • Be a national of the foreign country with a TPS designation (or if stateless, have last habitually resided in a country with a TPS designation);
  • Be continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of designation;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since a date specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security; and
  • Not be inadmissible to the United States or be barred from asylum for certain criminal or national security-related reasons, such as individuals who have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors.

You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:

  • Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
  • Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
  • Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;
  • Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
  • Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
    If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.

If you have a criminal record, please contact the Law Offices of Sabrina Li before applying for TPS.

What benefits does TPS provide?

If USCIS grants TPS, that applicant receives a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States. TPS beneficiaries are also eligible for permission to travel abroad and return to the United States, but they must apply for the travel permission separately.

What are the designated countries for TPS?

As of March 2021, the following 12 countries have unexpired TPS designation:

  • Burma (Valid through September 12, 2022)
  • El Salvador (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Haiti (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Honduras (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Nepal (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Nicaragua (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Somalia (Extended until September 17, 2021)
  • South Sudan (Extended until May 2, 2022)
  • Sudan (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Syria (Extended until September 30, 2022)
  • Venezuela (Valid through September 9, 2022)
  • Yemen (Extended until September 3, 2021)

Can I apply for a U.S. green card or citizenship after USCIS grants me TPS?

TPS does not provide beneficiaries with a separate path to a green card or citizenship. However, a TPS recipient who otherwise is eligible for permanent residence may apply for that status.

What happens to me when the TPS designation ends?

TPS beneficiaries return their original immigration status that they held prior to receiving TPS, unless that status has expired, or they successfully acquired a new immigration status.

If you believe you are eligible for TPS and would like to get further assistance from the Law Offices of Sabrina Li, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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