After obtaining Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States, it’s important to have a plan for where to permanently reside legally or obtain another immigration status once the TPS designation expires. Are you interested in learning about whether you can get a Green Card after having Temporary Protected Status? Read on to learn more about the options available to TPS holders.
Overview of TPS
Temporary Protected Status is a form of protection for people who legally entered the United States from countries with conditions that prevent them from returning safely. Every year, the Department of Homeland Security updates the list of eligible countries. The current list includes Venezuela, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, El Salvador, and more. Some of the benefits that TPS holders have include the ability to get travel or work authorization and protection from deportation. TPS is not a visa or immigrant designation but is temporary immigration status that can be held by someone from one of these countries.
Can a TPS Holder Gain Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card)?
The answer is no and yes. TPS does not create a direct path to a Green Card. TPS can be renewed if the designation is renewed by the Department of Homeland Security. If the designation is not renewed, your TPS will expire, and you will revert to whatever immigration status you had before getting TPS, unless you change to another immigration status.
If you were admitted into the U.S. – in other words, you entered the U.S. with inspection through an airport or other port of entry with a valid travel document, and you are otherwise eligible for a Green Card through a family or employment petition or receiving asylum, you may adjust your status and get a Green Card. If, however, you entered the U.S. without inspection, such as through the border, you cannot adjust your status. This is because to adjust your status while you are in the U.S., you need to have an admission. TPS is not as admission into the U.S. You will have to return to your country and apply for a Green Card from outside the U.S.
There is another situation, where if you entered the U.S. without inspection, you can still become eligible for a Green Card. If you apply for and have been granted Advance Parole, you can travel outside the United States, and return to the U.S. with inspection, through a port of entry. You will then be considered “paroled” and thereby have the “admission” that you need to be eligible to adjust your status. One of the benefits of TPS is that you can apply for Advance Parole.
Once you return to the U.S. after traveling with advance parole, you can apply for a Green Card and gain Lawful Permanent Residence through another type of immigration relief or as the beneficiary of another immigration petition. The process of applying for a Green Card is called adjustment of status, which requires you to have a basis, such as an approved family or employment petition, or asylee status, to adjust your status to Lawful Permanent Resident. It is important to understand which situations specifically allow for TPS holders to get a Green Card.
Lawful Permanent Residence Through a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Family Member
TPS holders have the option to apply for adjustment of status to Lawful Permanent Residence if they have a U.S. citizen child, parent, or spouse who is 21 years old or older. You will need one of these U.S. citizen family members to petition on your behalf.
If you have a parent or spouse who holds a Green Card, and you meet the requirements for a family petition, they can petition for you which would allow you to obtain a Green Card as well.
Lawful Permanent Residence Through Your Employment
TPS holders can seek Lawful Permanent Residence through their employers if they are eligible for a Green Card based employment visa. However, it is important to plan accordingly for this process as many of the employment visas require an employer to sponsor you and there may be time consuming steps, such as obtaining labor certification for EB-2 and EB-3 visas.
Lawful Permanent Residence Through Being Granted Asylum
TPS holders can apply for asylum at the same time as they have TPS. If they are granted asylum, they will be asylees, and one year after being granted asylum, they can apply for adjustment of status and get a Green Card. To learn more read our blog TPS and Asylum: Understanding the Similarities and Differences in Purpose and Objective
If you would like to learn more about TPS, advance parole, and getting a Green Card, contact us to schedule an in-depth assessment. We will go over your options with you and help you plan for your future.