Immigration 101: Temporary Protected Status

The US government has identified a number of countries that are experiencing conditions that would prevent nationals from safely returning. If you are from one of these countries, you may be eligible for a form of relief from removal called Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”). If you are in removal proceedings, and you are granted TPS, you won’t have legal status in the US, or the right to stay here permanently. However, you won’t be removed unless and until the conditions in your country have improved, and you may be able to apply for authorization to work in the US.

You may be eligible for TPS if:

  1. You are a national of a country that has been designated for TPS. The list of countries can be found here. Be aware that countries designated for TPS can change frequently. As of March, 2017, the list included the following countries: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
  2. You registered for TPS by the initial registration deadline, or you meet the requirements for late registration. Registration deadlines are different for each country, and they’re often extended. For many countries, however, the deadlines have already passed and it is no longer possible to register for TPS.
  3. You have been continuously physically present in the US since the most recent TPS designation date for your country. Designation dates are different for each country. Also, your country might be re-designated for TPS at any time, so even if you are not currently eligible because you don’t meet the physical presence requirement, you could become eligible at some point in the future.
  4. You have continuously resided in the US since a certain date specified by the government. This is similar to the physical presence requirement in (3), but generally allows for some time spent outside the US.
  5. You are admissible to the US as an immigrant or you are eligible for a waiver of the applicable grounds of inadmissibility. If you are inadmissible because, for example, you overstayed your visa or entered without inspection, you may be eligible for a waiver. However, certain grounds of inadmissibility can’t be waived for TPS purposes.
  6. You have not been convicted of any felony criminal offense, or two or more misdemeanor offenses.

This article is part of our ongoing “Immigration 101” series, in which we break down topics in US immigration law. For more articles in this series, click here.

The content in this post was originally written by Stuart Nickum and adapted by Lena Barouh.


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