What is TPS Immigration Status for Deportation Relief?

What is TPS Immigration Status for Deportation Relief?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration benefit that allows eligible individuals from certain designated countries to legally stay and work in the United States. TPS provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to immigrants who are unable to safely return to their home countries due to ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary conditions.

What Countries Are Currently Designated for TPS?

As of February 2023, the following countries have active TPS designations[1]:

  • Afghanistan
  • Cameroon
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

These designations allow over 400,000 immigrants from these countries to legally live and work in the U.S. while conditions remain unsafe in their home countries[1].

TPS Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for TPS, you must[2]:

  • Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country
  • File during the registration period for your country
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since the designation date for your country
  • Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the designation date for your country
  • Meet admissibility requirements and not be ineligible due to criminal issues or bars to asylum

There are also fees associated with applying for TPS, which depend on factors like age and whether you are submitting an initial application or re-registering[3].

Benefits of TPS

Individuals granted TPS receive multiple benefits[4]:

  • Deportation relief – Individuals with TPS cannot be detained or deported based on their immigration status.
  • Work authorization – TPS holders can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to legally work in the U.S.
  • Ability to travel – TPS beneficiaries can apply separately for advance parole to travel outside the U.S. and return.

TPS does not provide a path to permanent resident status or citizenship. However, TPS holders may still be eligible to apply for nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status, or other immigration benefits[5].

Duration of TPS

TPS designations generally last for 6 to 18 months initially but can be extended if conditions in the designated country remain unsafe[1]. For example, El Salvador’s TPS designation has been extended since 2001, allowing Salvadorans with TPS to live and work legally in the U.S. for over 20 years.

The Department of Homeland Security determines when to terminate TPS based on whether conditions in the designated country have improved sufficiently for immigrants to safely return. If TPS ends for a country, immigrants from that country revert to whatever immigration status they held prior to obtaining TPS, unless they acquired a new status[1].

How to Register for TPS

To register for TPS, you must submit the following forms[3]:

  • Form I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status
  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (if requesting a work permit)
  • Supporting documentation proving identity, nationality, residence, and eligibility
  • Filing fees

These forms must be submitted during the registration period specific to your country. Registration periods are announced in the Federal Register and on the USCIS website[6].

If approved, USCIS will provide an approval notice, TPS documentation, and work permit valid for the designated period[3]. TPS holders must re-register and pay fees during each extension of their country’s designation to maintain status.

Applying for TPS with a Removal Order

Some TPS applicants have existing orders of removal or deportation. A recent settlement allows certain TPS applicants who meet requirements to seek a stay of removal and apply for adjustment of status despite having a removal order[7].

To qualify, you must[7]:

  • Have or intend to apply for adjustment of status with USCIS
  • Have traveled abroad and returned to the U.S. with authorization while you had TPS

If you meet requirements, ICE may agree to join in a motion to reopen and terminate removal proceedings, enabling you to adjust status with USCIS.

Renewing TPS Status

To maintain TPS protections, current beneficiaries must re-register and pay fees during each extension of their country’s designation, meeting all TPS eligibility requirements[8]. USCIS announces re-registration periods in the Federal Register and on their website[6].

Failure to re-register will result in withdrawal of TPS status. However, some exceptions allow late re-registration within 60 days of the end of a designation[8].

Appealing a TPS Denial

If your TPS application is denied, you may file an appeal with the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) [9]. The appeal must be received by the AAO within 30 calendar days after service of the denial notice.

Alternatively, you may file a motion to reopen or reconsider directly with USCIS within 30 days. Consult with an immigration attorney to understand the best options in your case.

Seeking Other Immigration Relief

While TPS does not directly provide a green card or citizenship, TPS holders may still qualify for[10]:

  • Adjustment of status through family petitions or employment
  • Nonimmigrant visas
  • Asylum or other humanitarian programs

An immigration attorney can advise whether you may be eligible for these or other immigration benefits despite having TPS.

Conclusion

Temporary Protected Status provides vital protections from deportation and work authorization to over 400,000 immigrants in the U.S. from countries facing violence, disasters, or other unsafe conditions. TPS registration periods are announced in the Federal Register and all eligibility criteria must be met. While TPS itself does not offer permanent status, TPS holders may still qualify for green cards or other immigration relief through separate applications.

Consult with an experienced immigration attorney to understand if you qualify for TPS or related benefits.

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