What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

TPS is a temporary benefit that allows those individuals from certain designated countries, who are already in the United States, to legally live and work in the U.S. temporarily. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS to individuals who are temporarily unable to return to their home country due to certain conditions in their country. TPS status is granted from six (6) to eighteen (18) months and may be extended.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a special designation that the Secretary of Homeland Security gives to specific countries. Countries that receive the TPS designation are usually home to dangerous conditions that might prevent a citizen of that nation from safely returning home. In other situations, countries are designated for TPS if they do not have the ability to process the return of their citizens.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sometimes grants TPS status to citizens of nations that have been designated as TPS nations. Individuals who claim a TPS nation as their last home of residency, but do not have citizenship in that country, might also qualify for TPS status.

Qualifying TPS Conditions for a Country

Countries that have the following conditions could receive a TPS designation:

  • Ongoing civil war or armed conflict
  • Natural disaster like a hurricane, earthquake or disease
  • Another temporary or extraordinary circumstance

A current list of nations with TPS designations can be found on the USCIS website.

When an Immigrant Qualifies for TPS Benefits

Those who become TPS beneficiaries typically cannot be relocated from the United States. However, they might be able to receive a travel authorization depending on the circumstances. As for the positives, TPS beneficiaries are eligible for an employment authorization document (EAD) and they will be legally allowed to stay in the country.

TPS is only a temporary benefit and it is not a pathway for individuals to receive permanent residency status or any other type of immigration status. Nevertheless, TPS beneficiaries are still able to do the following:

  • Apply for nonimmigrant status
  • Apply for an adjustment of status
  • Apply for other immigration programs or protections that you are eligible for

Qualifying for TPS status will not give an immigrant any special advantage when applying for other types of immigration benefits. The applicant must still meet all the requirements for any other benefits that are applied for. In this regard, TPS status will neither hinder nor help an individual to qualify for asylum. Similarly, being denied asylum or qualifying for asylum will not affect one's ability to obtain TPS status, but it is possible to be denied TPS status and asylum for the same reasons.

Are You From a Country with a TPS Designation?

If you come from a country with a TPS Designation, you may be able to qualify for TPS benefits and temporarily stay and work in the United States. As with any application through the USCIS, there is a possibility that the application could be rejected. Therefore, you may wish to obtain professional assistance through an immigration law attorney when preparing your application. An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that you have the best chances of success in your application. He or she can also help you identify other immigration strategies, either for seeking permanent residency or trying to extend the amount of time you are permitted to stay in the country.

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