Many of you are uncertain about whether Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or asylum is a better option of immigration relief to pursue for people fleeing from a dangerous situation in their country of origin. Although TPS and asylum both provide some similar protections to immigrants, there are also some key differences between the two. Read on to learn more about where they overlap, where they differ, and what the best course of action is if you think you might qualify for either.
What are the Similarities?
The primary similarity between TPS and asylum is their purpose. Both are designed for immigrants who are fleeing unstable situations in their countries of origin. To obtain one or both reliefs, your country of nationality must have an environment that is unsafe for you.
Additionally, both TPS and asylum can provide you with relief from removal, which means that you can stay in the US and not worry about being sent back to your home country while your petition is pending. If you are granted TPS, you cannot be detained by DHS based on your immigration status and you will be safe from deportation. With both TPS and asylum, you are also given certain benefits. You can get work authorization with both. You can also get a travel permit with TPS, which many people utilize. You can also apply for a travel permit while you have a pending asylum application, although travel is generally not encouraged – and certainly, not to the country you are seeking asylum from.
What are the Differences?
The main difference between TPS and asylum is the fact that asylum takes into consideration individual circumstances for people from all countries, whereas TPS is provided by the U.S. government to select countries, in response to circumstances that exist in the entire country. To be granted asylum, you must prove that you specifically were already persecuted in your home country or have a reasonable fear of being persecuted in the future, on account of one of the five asylum grounds. To learn more about these five asylum grounds, please read our post on the basics of asylum. Additionally, you must provide evidence of specific instances of your persecution for asylum.
TPS, on the other hand, is a designation granted to entire countries. Each year, USCIS releases a list of TPS countries, and anyone from these countries who can prove residence and/or nationality requirements can be granted TPS. It does not require an individual burden of proof. Rather, TPS is designed to protect immigrants coming from countries with political, economic, or social strife.
Since asylum is an individualized and more extensive application process, it can also grant greater protections. TPS grants protection from detention and deportation if the unsafe environment continues to exist in the home country and allows for immigrants to seek employment. Asylum goes further, and allows people to obtain permanent safety in the U.S. by obtaining permanent resident status and getting a Green Card.
Which One Should You Apply For?
Luckily, an individual can hold both TPS and asylum status at the same time. Since TPS is not an official visa but rather a designation, immigrants can get TPS status while also seeking to apply for asylum or any other type of visa. TPS is useful as a temporary protection from removal, but asylum will provide permanent protection from the unsafe conditions in your home country, allow you to have a new home in the United States as a permanent resident, and in the future apply for U.S. Citizenship.
If you would like to learn more about TPS and asylum, please contact us to learn more about our immigration attorney services. We can also provide you an assessment in your eligibility for TPS and asylum, and help you decide whether to apply for either or both types of immigration relief.