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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status given to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems such as ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, an epidemic, or other extraordinary conditions that render it difficult or unsafe for the nationals to be deported there. It allows for a work permit and the ability to travel. TPS beneficiaries are protected from removal from the United States. The countries currently designated for TPS per the Secretary of Homeland Security’s order are as follows: El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. TPS designations are for 6, 12, or 18 months at a time. At the end of the expiration period, the Secretary of Homeland Security decides to extend or terminate the designations based on the most current conditions of the countries. Each time that a TPS designation is extended, current TPS holders must reapply for the status. It must be noted that once TPS status for a country ends, all persons currently residing in the United States and solely relying on TPS for their legal status must depart. Furthermore, TPS does not lead to a pathway to become a permanent legal resident of the United States.

To be eligible for TPS, an individual must: be a national of a country designated for TPS or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in a designated country; file during the open initial registration or re-registration period (or meet the requirement for late initial filing); have been continuously physically present in the Unites States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of the country; and have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for their country (the law provides exceptions to this for “brief, casual, and innocent” departures from the U.S.). They must also not have a serious criminal record, not be otherwise inadmissible.

The application process includes several steps. The first step is to file an I-821 form, the Application for Temporary Status. In this application, they must submit evidence of their nationality, data for their entry into the United States, and evidence of continuous residence.

If you come from a TPS designated country and would like to gain this immigration status, contact the Shulman Law Group to work with our experienced team of lawyers who specialize solely in immigration matters.