TPS stands out among the designations that USCIS grants because it is available to anyone coming from a list of specific countries so long as they can demonstrate that they meet basic nationality and/or residence requirements. Read on to learn more about the role that nationality plays in obtaining TPS, and the relationship you must establish with the country that you’re coming from.
How is Nationality Defined?
Nationality refers to your country of origin and citizenship. For example, if you were born and raised in Venezuela, you would be considered a Venezuelan national and would qualify for TPS on the grounds that you are a national of a TPS-designated country.
Is Nationality Required to Obtain a TPS Designation?
Nationality is not required to obtain a TPS designation. Although demonstrating nationality along with other basic residence and identification information will qualify you for TPS, you can also obtain TPS by proving that you habitually resided in a TPS country but have been in the U.S. since the most recent designation of your former country of residence.
What about dual nationality with another country?
Dual nationality does not necessarily bar you from being able to gain TPS protections. However, it can sometimes create additional hurdles to obtaining TPS or result in other scenarios that can prevent you from gaining TPS, like establishment of firm resettlement in a non-U.S. country. If you have dual nationality, you might face closer examination of the passport or E-visa you used, how you obtained this additional nationality (your ties there, family, business connections, employment, when you visited, etc.), and whether you can gain protections from your other country of nationality that is not the U.S. or the TPS country you are fleeing from. If you enter the U.S. but have “firmly resettled” in a third country of nationality, you are not eligible for protections under TPS, with a few exceptions. To be “firmly resettled” in a third country means that you:
- entered the third country prior to your arrival in the U.S.
- have an offer or receipt of legal status there; and
- this status is permanent.
If you have multiple nationalities, be sure to have a clear understanding of how it can affect your TPS application.
The Exceptions to Firm Resettlement
There are two exceptions to firm resettlement. You must demonstrate the following:
- Your entry into the country was a necessary consequence of flight from persecution, and you remained only as long as necessary to make further travel arrangements and have no significant ties; or
- Restrictive Conditions: A condition of residence was so “substantially and consciously restricted” that you were not resettled. You can demonstrate the rights and privileges of other residents to establish this, such as housing/employment, right to obtain property, travel, education, naturalization, etc.
What about dual citizenship with another country?
If you have dual citizenship with another country, you are not necessarily barred from obtaining TPS. However, you might face similar hurdles to dual nationality. The same USCIS rules on firm resettlement apply to citizenship, and you will have to establish how you qualify as a national or habitual resident of the TPS designated country.
If you are interested in applying for TPS or are concerned about the nationality requirement, contact us for an in-depth assessment of your eligibility and for help in applying for TPS.