Are you a foreign national currently residing in the United States, coming from a country with conditions that prevent you from returning safely? If so, you might be eligible for an immigration benefit called Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Read on to learn more about the eligibility requirements for TPS!
What is TPS?
TPS is a designation that the Department of Homeland Security created to allow for foreign nationals located in the United States to receive temporary protection from deportation and detention by immigration authorities if they come from a country where it would be unsafe to return. TPS is a protection that is available alongside other visas; you can apply for TPS and for a visa at the same time and hold both simultaneously. TPS comes with other benefits beyond protection from removal such as the ability to apply for employment and travel authorization. If you meet the eligibility requirements and are a national of a country that has been designated TPS on the annually updated list of designated countries, then you can apply for TPS.
List of Protected Countries
A country can be added to the list of countries that have TPS due to the following conditions:
- Ongoing armed conflict, such as civil war;
- An environmental or epidemiological disaster; or
- Other extraordinary or temporary conditions that create a broad level of instability and unsafe conditions for nationals seeking to return.
To qualify for TPS, you must be a national of a TPS-designated country or you must have continuously resided there for a considerable period – in other words, last habitually resided in the designated country. The list of countries that are currently designated for TPS as of January 2022 are as follows:
- Burma (Myanmar);
- El Salvador;
- South Sudan;
- Venezuela; and
This list is subject to change on an annual basis and pending changes in conditions in each of these countries. If your country of origin is not on the list but you face danger if you return, you may explore other immigration options like asylum or see if it gets added to the list for 2022.
Other Eligibility Requirements
In addition to being a national of and/or habitually residing in a country on the aforementioned list, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible for TPS:
- You have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation of your country;
- You have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country, unless you departed for a brief and casual period of time that you disclose to USCIS; and
- You filed for TPS during the initial registration or re-registration period or you meet the requirements for late initial filing during an extension of your country’s TPS designation.
If you meet all the above eligibility requirements and submit your application correctly, you are likely to be granted TPS.
Factors that Can Make You Ineligible for TPS
If you are interested in applying for TPS, it’s important to understand the factors that could potentially disqualify you from receiving TPS. You may not be eligible to apply for TPS or to maintain existing TPS if any of the following apply to you:
- You have been convicted of any felony, or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
- You are found inadmissible under certain immigration statues, including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
- You are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum, including persecution of another individual or participating in terrorist activity;
- You fail to meet the continuous physical presence and residence requirements and/or fail to demonstrate how you could qualify for an exemption;
- You fail to meet the initial or late initial registration requirements; or
- If you hold TPS, you fail to re-register as required without good cause.
If you would like to learn more about TPS eligibility and how to apply, please contact us for an assessment. We will walk you through the process and help you obtain TPS.