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Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is exactly what it sounds like: a protected status that is provided to qualifying individuals for a temporary amount of time.

The specific details of TPS, however, are much more intricate. To clarify, the Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to designate a temporary protected status to a specific foreign country if the conditions in that particular country would prevent foreign nationals from safely returning home. In certain circumstances, TPS can also be granted to foreign nationals whose return home would otherwise cause stress / harm to the country.

How Designation for TPS Works

Designation of TPS can be granted to entire countries, or certain parts of a country. Either way, this type of status can only be granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and it can only be designated to foreign nationals who are already in the U.S. Included in this mix are individuals without nationality who last resided in the country that has since been designated with TPS. Among the conditions at which the Secretary of Homeland Security looks when deciding upon which countries qualify for TPS are the following temporary circumstances:

  • Environmental disaster
  • Epidemic
  • Ongoing armed conflict, i.e. civil war
  • Extraordinary and temporary conditions not otherwise specified

The conditions by which TPS is executed are very specific and must be strictly followed. Individuals who are designated as TPS beneficiaries, as well as those who are found to be preliminarily eligible for this type of status at the time of their initial review, will not be permitted for removal from the United States, nor can they be susceptible to detainment by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) based on their immigration status. During the period of their temporary protected status, these individuals will be permitted to seek employment by obtaining an employment authorization document (EAD) and can also be granted the authorization to travel. In essence, their lives can carry on as normal.

Are you eligible?

In order to qualify for the benefits that can be reaped from being granted temporary protected status in the United States, the foreign national must meet all of the requirements set forth by the USCIS. These requirements are as follows:

Individual is a national of a country that has been designated for TPS; or individual is not a national of the country, but last lived in a country that has been designated for TPS
Individual has been continuously and physically present (CPP) in the United States since the most recent date at which time his or her country was effectively designated TPS
Individual filed during open initial registration or re-registration; or individual meets the requirements for filing late if his or her country has been allotted an extension of TPS
In certain circumstances, exceptions can be made. For example, individuals who have been continuously residing in the U.S. since the date specified for their country, but left the country briefly, casually, or by “innocent departure,” as denoted by the USCIS can still be eligible for TPS if their country has been selected for inclusion. Equally as important as the conditions in which you will be permitted to benefit from TPS are the conditions that will automatically disqualify you from these benefits. They are as follows:

Individual has been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S.

  • Individual does not meet continuous physical presence and / or continuous residence in the U.S. requirements
  • Individual is found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a); this includes non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds
  • Individual is subject to any of the bars to asylum
  • Individual failed to meet the initial or late initial TPS registration requirements
  • Individual failed to re-register for TPS without good cause if the status had already been granted to him or her

Completing the Application Process in New York

If your country has been designated with temporary protected status and you would like to take advantage of the benefits offered to you as a foreign national currently resident in the U.S., then we suggest that you speak with a New York immigration attorney from Pozo Goldstien, LLP as soon as possible. The application process can be complex if handled incorrectly, but you can avoid complications when you have an attorney on your side guiding you through the process from start to finish. For each of the following steps, a qualified lawyer should be consulted for confirmation that you have taken the necessary actions to fulfill expectations fully:

1. File your TPS package / petition
2. Application is reviewed by the USCIS
3. Applicant is contacted by the USCIS
4. Filer goes to the Application Support Center (ASC)
5. Work eligibility is determined by the USCIS
6. Application is adjudicated by the USCIS
7. Application is approved or denied by the USCIS

A more detailed explanation of the specifics involved in fulfilling each of these steps can be found on the official USCIS website or by clicking here. We also encourage individuals to contact Pozo Goldstein, LLP for answers. When you come into our office for a consultation, a professional member of our legal team can meet with you to discuss the intricate details of the Temporary Protected Status, particularly as they pertain to the specifics of your circumstance. We are available 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact us when you need help or you want answers to your questions.