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Law Offices of Patrick C. McGuinness, LLC

Temporary Protected Status - Law Offices of Patrick C. McGuinness, LLCTemporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status given by the U.S. government to nationals of certain countries experiencing difficult or unsafe conditionals at home. TPS has been a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of individuals already in the United States when problems in a home country make their departure or deportation problematic for humanitarian reasons.

TPS was created by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990 (hereinafter, the “Act”). It is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of specifically designated countries that are confronting an: (1) ongoing armed conflict; (2) environmental disaster; or (3) extraordinary and temporary conditions preventing their safe return to their country of origin. The status provides individuals with a work permit and a stay of deportation who are physically in the United States at the time the U.S. government makes the TPS designation for that country. There are currently over 300,000 individuals in the United States with TPS.

Under the Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security (hereinafter, the “Secretary”) has discretion to decide whether a country merits a TPS designation in consultation with other government agencies. The designation can be made for 6, 12, or 18 months at a time. Moreover, at least sixty days prior to the expiration of TPS, the Secretary must decide whether to extend or terminate a designation based on the conditions in the foreign country. Decisions to begin, extend, or terminate a TPS designation must be published in the Federal Register. If an extension or termination decision is not published at least 60 days in advance of expiration, the designation is automatically extended for six months. The law does not define the term “temporary” or otherwise limit the amount of time for which a country can have a TPS designation.

In order to qualify for TPS, an individual must be: (1) a national of the foreign country with a TPS designation (or if stateless, have last habitually resided in the country with a TPS designation); (2) continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of designation; (3) a continuous resident in the United States since a date specified by the Secretary when announcing the designation; and (4) admissible to the United States and not be barred for certain criminal or national security-related reasons (i.e., must not have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors).

Nationals who are eligible for TPS must register by filing an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) as it is not automatically granted. If a person demonstrates eligibility and USCIS grants TPS status, that person receives a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States. TPS beneficiaries are also eligible for advance parole, which provides permission to travel abroad and return to the United States, but they must apply for it separately. Beneficiaries are not eligible for any public assistance by virtue of their TPS status.

As of April 2022, the following countries were designated for TPS and the designation have not expired:

  • Burma 
  • Cameroon
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
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