Who can apply for Temporary Protected Status, and how does it work? Dalyla Santos, an experienced immigration lawyer and founder of The Santos Law Offices, PA, in Miami and Orlando, FL, explains.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a legal status the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can grant foreigners who currently reside in the U.S. and cannot safely return to their home countries because of certain conditions such as armed conflict, an epidemic, or a natural disaster.
TPS gives eligible individuals several important benefits, including protection from deportation and employment authorization.
Who Qualifies for TPS?
Immigration law allows the Secretary of the DHS to designate a specific country for Temporary Protected Status if that country is unsafe due to situations like war, a civil revolt, an epidemic, a wide-scale environmental crisis, or any condition that would make the country temporarily dangerous for its residents who currently have a base in the U.S.
Individuals may be eligible for TPS if they:
- Are nationals of a designated country
- Have filed within the open registration period or meet requirements for late filing
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. starting from a designated date
The list of countries currently designated for TPS includes El Salvador, Venezuela, Honduras, Burma, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria.
Who is Ineligible for TPS
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will usually deny TPS status to individuals if they:
- Have a serious criminal record including two or more misdemeanors or a felony
- Have previously engaged in terrorist activity
- Have not been continuously present in the U.S. starting from the USCIS-specified date
- Do not meet TPS registration requirements
Venezuelans Have Temporary Protected Status Due to the Political Situation in Their Country
On March 8, 2021, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas designated Venezuela for TPS, effective March 9, 2021, and until the end of September 2022. The reasons for the designation include a severe economic crisis in Venezuela, social plight due to President Maduro’s authoritarian regime, and an uncontrolled expansion of COVID-19.
The factors mentioned above currently make Venezuela an unsafe and unstable place. Therefore Venezuelan nationals can apply for TPS in the U.S. Eligible individuals should file applications during the 180 days starting from March 9, 2021, and ending September 9, 2022.
How Temporary Protected Status Works
During the designated 18-month period, individuals that hold TPS status are:
- Protected from deportation from the U.S. or detainment by the DHS based on their immigration status
- Eligible for an EAD (employment authorization document) and college enrollment
- Eligible to get a temporary driver’s license in the U.S. state in which they are residing
Depending on the circumstances of the designated country, the DHS Secretary may decide to extend or end TPS designation 60 days before the current designation period expires.
DHS Is in the Process of Renewing Temporary Protected Status for Haiti (Delayed Due to COVID-19)
On May 22, 2021, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status designated for Haitian nationals residing in the U.S. The re-designation allows individuals to apply for TPS provided they currently live in the U.S. and answer eligibility requirements.
Haiti first received TPS designation after a devastating earthquake in January 2010. The Department of Homeland Security has since renewed its designation for Haiti several times due to political unrest in the country and other natural disasters that have led to a deep humanitarian crisis.
How to Apply for TPS
Individuals registering or re-registering for TPS should file:
- Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821)
- Request for Employment Authorization (Form I-765)
- Identity and Nationality Evidence, such as a copy of a passport, birth certificate, or a national ID card
- Date of Entry Evidence, including arrival/departure records and other relevant documents
- CR (Continuous Residence) Evidence, including employment records, utility bills, rent receipts, and medical records
Any documents in a language other than English require a complete and accurate English translation by a competent translator.
How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help with Your TPS Application
Following USCIS requirements is the most critical element in a successful TPS application. Our legal team at The Santos Law Offices, PA, can help ensure you provide the proper documentation and correctly fill out the forms with accurate, updated information, photos, and fees.
If you require any additional documents—for example, an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601)—we can also help you fill them out correctly to maximize your chances of obtaining TPS status.
The Santos Law Offices, PA: Immigration Lawyer Near Me
What sets The Santos Law Offices, PA apart from other law firms is our commitment to giving each client personalized, effective, and affordable legal representation.
Do you need reliable legal advice from an immigration attorney? Call 305-417-4111 or fill out our contact form for The Santos Law Offices, PA. We offer free consultations on all immigration matters, including Saturday consults by appointment. For your convenience, we will do this call over the phone or Zoom so that you don’t have to deal with traffic or parking. If you prefer a face-to-face meeting, we can schedule an appointment in our offices in Miami or Orlando. We look forward to talking with you!
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.