Temporary Protected Status: An Overview For 2022

BREAKING: Nationals from the Ukraine and Afghanistan have just been added to the Temporary Protected Status List and can soon apply for TPS.  

A REVIEW OF TPS

When Haitians in the United States were given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in 2011, it benefited 100,000 to 200,000 immigrants affected by the earthquake. This policy was humane and resulted in much needed relief for many people. While TPS is NOT a green card, it can be a way to eventually become a permanent resident in the United States in certain cases, and is a good option for those whose home countries are in crisis.

With the war in the Ukraine, many people are reaching out to us asking about Temporary Protected Status.

What are the benefits of Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is given to immigrants from nations devastated by natural disasters or civil strife. TPS allows people to live and work in the United States for limited times, as a respite to conditions in their home country. As of November 2017, about 300,000 foreign nationals were in the US under temporary protected status.  TPS allows you to stay in the United States in a finite way. People with TPS are able to obtain work authorization every 18 months since the designation was made, in some cases for many years.

  • TPS  is not a green card,but…
  • TPS allows for a work permit 
  • TPS protects beneficiaries from deportation
  • Having TPS doesn’t stop you from applying for political asylum or permanent residence
  • Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits

Is TPS the same as Asylum?

No. While Asylum and TPS both offer temporary stays in the United States, Asylum looks at individual circumstances for immigrants from all countries. TPS on the other hand, is only offered for select countries, in response to circumstances that exist for that entire country like war, or natural disasters.

Can Temporary Protected Status Lead To A Green Card?

While the Biden administration did talk about fast-tracking those with TPS into permanent residency, TPS is not currently a path to citizenship. Having TPS does not stop you from applying for a green card or make you ineligible for citizenship if certain conditions are met.

Who Qualifies For Temporary Protection Status?

Temporary Protected Status is granted to foreign-born immigrants who are unable to return home due to safely due to conditions or circumstances happening in their home country like war, or environmental disasters.

To be eligible for Temporary Protection Status, an applicant must:

  • Be a national of a country that has TPS status, or habitually reside in a country with TPS status.
  • File for TPS during the appropriate registration or re-registration periods.
  • Have been continuously physically present in the US (CPP) since the most recent designation date for your country.
  • Have lived in the US continuously since the date specified for your particular country (Exceptions are made to the CPP and continuous residence requirements for short, casual or innocent departures from the US).
  • Not been involved in any terrorist or criminal activity, or be deemed a security threat to the US.

The temporary protected status program covers people from the following countries:

  • Burma
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Venezuela
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • South Sudan
  • Nationals from the Ukraine and Afghanistan have just been added to the Temporary Protected Status List and can soon apply for TPS.

How do you apply for TPS?

In order to file a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, you must first be from one of the countries that has been offered TPS.

TPS applicants must be in the US when the US government designates it. They also must prove that they were present in the US from date of designation – continuous residence. Anyone from that country who enters after that date is not eligible. There must also be no convictions of felonies, or two or more misdemeanors in the US.

How Long Does It Take To Get Temporary Protection Status?

It typically takes from a few months to less than a year, to process the initial Form 1-821.It all depends on the complexity of your case.

What’s new in TPS for 2021/2022?

Immigration has decided it will automatically extend validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries through Dec 31, 2022, from current expiration date of Oct 4, 2021 in the countries below.

  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Nicaragua
  • Sudan
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Venezuela
  • PLUS

The 18-month registration period for new applications under the redesignation of Syria now runs through Sept. 30, 2022

The 18-month registration period for initial applications under the TPS designation for Burma (Myanmar) now runs through Nov. 25, 2022.

On August 3, the  registration periods were extended from 180 days to 18 months for new applicants under the Temporary Protected Status designations for Venezuela, Syria, and Burma.

Nationals of Burma, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela or Yemen, or individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in those countries, can now file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, online, if they are applying for TPS for the first time.

What happens if you forget to reregister for your TPS, or if the TPS for your country is revoked?

In order to live and work in the US under TPS you have to continually reregister at the end of every 18 months. You will also have to reregister for your employment authorization document (EAD). If you forget to reregister you risk losing TPS and possibly being subjected to a removal hearing.

You can file an appeal if you are late for reregistration, but you MUST have a good reason for being late. If you change your address you must update USCICS immediately; they typically do not consider lost mail a good reason.

If the TPS designation for your country is revoked, call an immigration lawyer immediately to see about other options. Often people have held TPS for many years, and would have grounds for applying for more permanent options. If you stay in the US after the TPS designation for your country has been pulled, beyond the date that you have been given to return to your country, you may be at risk of removal.

Remember: It is always better to investigate your options, rather than wait for a finite program to end, and find yourself potentially fighting deportation. A good immigration lawyer will help you go through all your options and pick the best way forward.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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