Temporary Protected Status Overview

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is given to individuals who are already inside the United States but who would otherwise be asked to leave —- due to the expiration of a visa, for example -— when it is determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security that they cannot return to their country of origin. This is typically given to nationals of the country in question, but can, in some cases, be given to individuals who do not have any citizenship, but who lived most recently in that country.

When a person is given TPS he or she will not be exported or removed, and can still seek the documentation necessary to work in the United States. However, it is crucial to note that TPS is not the same as citizenship or permanent status as an immigrant. It is merely a temporary measure that is used, and, as such, it can be lifted.

Why Is TPS Utilized?

The government uses TPS to protect individuals within the United States. Often, this status is given to those whose home country is undergoing an armed conflict that has been continuing for some time and appears to be likely to continue into the future; the most common example of this is a civil war. Other times, the government may give this status to a person if one's home country has been devastated by a natural disaster, or if there is some other extreme circumstance that warrants it. TPS ensures that people are not forced back into a situation in which they would be in danger.

Can a Person Continue Seeking a Permanent Stay?

If you have been given TPS, you still have all of your rights to seek a more permanent solution if you so choose. You can also continue to make use of any benefits as an immigrant to which you were entitled before being given the aforementioned status. However, being given TPS is not going to strengthen or hinder any other ongoing cases, such as a request for asylum. All of the criteria for things of this nature have to be met, whether you have been granted TPS or not.

What Countries Can Get Temporary Protected Status?

Changing conditions worldwide mean that the countries that are granted TPS are always shifting. With the outbreak of a new civil war, for example, a country could be added to the list, and the resolution of such a conflict could see the country removed from the list. Some that have been on it recently include:

  • Sudan
  • Somalia
  • Haiti
  • Sierra Leone
  • El Salvador
  • Syria

Determining Eligibility

Before filing a request for TPS —- please note that it is very crucial to file all of the proper legal paperwork and to pay any connected fees -— it is important to look at what makes a person eligible. When TPS is declared, it is applied to the country itself, not the residents, and then residents have to apply to be recognized. Some of the eligibility requirements include:

  • Being an official national or citizen of a country currently listed for TPS.
  • Having last lived in said country and not being a citizen of another country.
  • Putting in your application during the correct designated period; there are also options for late filing, if necessary.
  • Having been in the U.S. continuously since your country was added to the list; this is known as CPP, or being Continuously Physically Present.

It should be noted that there are exceptions to the rule regarding your having been CPP, as casual trips out of the country —- such as a family vacation -— may be excused.

What Can Bar You From TPS?

There are a handful of things that could make it so that you are not eligible for Temporary Protected Status, even if you meet some of the requirements above. These things include, but are not limited to, the following:

It is true that TPS cases can be complex and they can take a long time to resolve, but a quick review of your case can often mark you as preliminarily eligible, at which time you will not be removed from the country until all other legal steps have been taken. This is the first stage of the process, ensuring that you are not removed when full TPS was warranted.

  • Having a felony record in the U.S.
  • Having a pair -— or more -— of misdemeanors.
  • A record of criminal activity, such as terrorist activity, that bars you from immigration or asylum.

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