Authorized Travel with TPS and Eligibility for a Green Card
Changes and Benefits Coming from the New Policy
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memo updating their policy on authorized travel for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders on July 1, 2022. This memo rescinds a Trump era policy regarding a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holder’s use of advance parole and eligibility for adjustment of status. This memo clarifies that TPS holders who depart the U.S. and re-enter the country can be considered “inspected and admitted” for purposes of adjustment of status.
- This new policy means that thousands of TPS holders may become eligible to adjust their status to lawful permanent residents (i.e obtain their green cards in the U.S.) after authorized travel outside the U.S.
- USCIS will no longer be using advance parole, but rather TPS holders will apply for a new and updated travel authorization document, Form I-512T, Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen to the United States, before their departure. The new document will be issued in accordance with Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendments of 1991.
- TPS holders with existing, unexpired advance parole documents may continue to use it for travel.
What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
TPS was created by Congress in 1990 and grants recipients a non-permanent status that allows them to work and live in the U.S. while it is unsafe to return to their home country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants a TPS designation to countries that are experiencing ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Countries that are currently designated for TPS are:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
To be eligible for TPS, you must:
- Be a national or a person without nationality who last habitually resided a country with TPS designation;
- Be continuously physically present in the United States since the country date of TPS designation;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. since a date specified by DHS; and
- Pose no threat to the U.S. for criminal or national security-related reasons.
How will this new policy impact my application for adjustment of status or other immigration benefits?
Under the old policy, a TPS holder who was present in the United States without inspection, admission, or parole at the time of his/her departure pursuant to TPS travel authorization returned to the U.S. in the same immigration status he/she had at the time of departure. This meant that TPS authorized travel could not be used to satisfy the requirement that an alien be “inspected and admitted or paroled” to be eligible to adjust status to a green card holder. Now, under the new policy announcement, if you are a TPS holder who properly traveled with advance parole under the old TPS procedures, USCIS can make a determination as to whether you have been “inspected and admitted” and “present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission” including for purposes of adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident, even if you were present without inspection, admission, or parole when you were initially granted TPS.
If you have TPS and you traveled on advance parole prior to July 1, 2022, USCIS will make a determination on whether you were “inspected and admitted” on a case-by-case basis. To be considered “inspected and admitted”, the following requirements must be met:
- You obtained prior authorization to travel abroad temporarily on the basis of being a TPS holder;
- Your TPS was not revoked or the designation for your native country was not terminated or did not expire during your travel;
- You returned to the U.S. in accordance with the authorization to travel; and
- Upon return, you were inspected and paroled or otherwise permitted to enter into the U.S. by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or DHS.
The new policy further provides that if you travel in the future and are admitted and inspected under the MTINA you will be considered to have been inspected and admitted for the purposes of adjustment of status, even if you were previously present in the U.S. without inspection, admission, or parole.
Who doesn’t this Memo apply to?
This memo does not impact TPS holders whose TPS was not valid for the duration of their previous travel, who traveled without obtaining advance authorization, who did not return in accordance with their prior authorization, who were not inspected at a designated port of entry, or who are inadmissible on criminal, drug related, or national security grounds.
Still have questions about TPS, authorized travel, and adjustment of status? Our team of experienced immigration attorneys is happy to answer your questions.