Temporary protected status (TPS) is a designation assigned to aliens of a foreign country by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The purpose of TPS is to grant an exception to the usual deportation process for humanitarian reasons.
The TPS issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security is enforced by the U.S. Center for Immigration Services (USCIS). A TPS is usually declared because aliens from a nation either cannot be returned safely or are unable to be processed by their home country. Aliens from a TPS assigned country who were already in the U.S. may be eligible to qualify for TPS status according to the USCIS. Additionally, individuals with no legal nationality that last resided in a TPS country may also be eligible for TPS status.
The Secretary of Homeland Security has broad discretion over what qualifies as a danger to returning nationals worthy of a TPS, but in general, some common causes are:
A TPS may be temporarily authorized if these or any other “extraordinary and temporary conditions” are present.
Once a country is designated as having TPS, nationals from that country in the U.S. will have a window of opportunity to apply for TPS. There are several benefits to having TPS, including:
Additionally, TPS-protected nationals cannot be apprehended or detained based on their immigration status.
While a national with TPS is not a lawful permanent resident, they can file for adjustment of status, nonimmigrant status, or any other immigration protections they meet the eligibility requirements. TPS also does not impede an application for asylum, and a denial of refugee status does not affect the individual’s TPS.
According to the USCIS, 15 nations or parts of nations have active TPS designations. Those nations are:
This USCIS list is updated regularly to inform a national whether they may be able to acquire TPS.
To qualify for TPS designation, four requirements must be met:
There are some allowances for absences that the USCIS deems “brief, casual, and innocent,” but they must be reported the next time an applicant re-registers for their TPS for judgment.
While TPS can be a life-changing designation for some aliens, it is not given to all members of the TPS nation living in the United States. Certain behaviors or circumstances can render an applicant ineligible for TPS status.
Individuals who have their TPS status denied or revoked may have the following disqualifying traits:
Some limits, such as the inadmissibility for entry, can be bypassed. Inadmissibility for medical reasons can sometimes be ignored by a medical waiver, though criminal and security-related grounds for inadmissibility cannot be waived.
If an applicant misses the initial registration period, they can sometimes complete a late registration or re-registration. While this may come with additional conditions, late registration or re-registration can allow a foreign national to gain TPS protections.
Late initial registration is permissible under two broad categories. The first is children of individuals who were eligible for TPS protections. Any child who was under 21 at the time of an initial TPS registration period in which their parent was eligible may be able to file a late TPS application. According to the USCIS, there is no time limit for this condition, so all applicable children will be able to qualify for TPS status.
The second late initial registration category is for individuals who meet certain conditions and register either while they still fulfill the terms or within 60 days of the termination or expiration of their condition. The requirements outlined by this category include:
In any of these situations, an individual may be able to file a late initial registration application for TPS. In some cases, other groups may be specified in the country’s specific TPS order.
In addition to late initial registrations, the USCIS can also choose to recognize late re-registration for TPS. Late re-registration applications must be submitted alongside a letter that gives good cause for the reason for the late filing. Even if a late re-registration is accepted for good cause, an individual’s work authorization may be interrupted.
If you are an immigrant looking to take advantage of the temporary protected status offered by your nationality, you will need the help of an experienced Immigration Law attorney. An Immigration Law attorney will be able to advise you and advocate on your behalf in order to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Using their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Immigration Law attorney can explore your alternative options to deportation as well as present your case in the most compelling light possible and deftly navigate the complex processes of immigration bureaucracy as well as the obscure functions of immigration court.