What Countries Qualify for TPS?
What You Need to Know Before Applying for TPS?
Temporary protected status (TPS) is a humanitarian effort by the U.S. government to keep people safe if returning to their home country may place them in danger. It’s a temporary form of protection that can be extended as the U.S. Government sees it is needed.
Here’s what you need to know before applying for TPS, what countries qualify for TPS, and how TPS will work if you’re issued this status.
What Is TPS?
TPS is a special status awarded to immigrants from home countries that have received a designation offering temporary protection from a harmful or dangerous situations. If you’re currently in the United States and your home country is a designated country for temporary protected status, you can request the ability to stay in the United States for your safety.
What Is the Difference Between TPS and DED?
TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) are very similar in the way they work, but they’re enacted differently. Deferred Enforced Departure is a special order issued by the current president that protects a certain class of people in the United States from being deported and allows them to live in the U.S. for a designated period of time.
DED is used differently. While TPS covers safety from disasters and military action, DED can be used to protect specific classes of people who may be significantly impacted by a situation not covered by normal TPS protections.
The Biden Administration announced deferred enforced departure for certain residents of Hong Kong who don’t feel safe returning to mainland China. Protests against the government of mainland China led some citizens of Hong Kong to fear undue retaliation by the government. DED gives citizens of Hong Kong the choice to temporarily remain in the United States, where they may feel safer.
Who Declares Which Countries Are Eligible for TPS?
Most immigration-related decisions are made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). TPS is different because it isn’t a type of immigration status. A temporary protected status designation exists outside of someone’s immigration status and doesn’t provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reviews situations around the world and makes decisions regarding temporary protected status. If they believe an ongoing situation in a country can make it dangerous for nationals of that country to return, the Secretary of Homeland Security can create a TPS designation.
What Events Lead to Temporary Protected Status?
TPS is granted to nationals of certain countries when temporary conditions may make it difficult or unsafe for them to return home. USCIS doesn’t want to deport people if doing so would place them directly into a dangerous situation. They also don’t want to deport people if they know those people have no home to return to.
A natural disaster like a major hurricane, earthquake, or tsunami would be grounds for a temporary protected status designation. The idea behind awarding citizens of a country impacted by a natural disaster with temporary protected status is to keep them safe in the United States until it’s safe for them to return home. When the affected area is structurally sound and declared safe, temporary protected status can end.
Civil war and ongoing armed conflict make a country dangerous for civilians to live in. Temporary protected status can keep civilians from returning to a war zone. Temporary protected status can be extended until it’s clear that the conflict has ended and the threat of dangerous military action has been minimized.
TPS can also be designated after an environmental disaster. An environmental disaster is a disaster created by humans, either deliberately or accidentally. A nuclear power reactor melting down and making an area uninhabitable would be considered an environmental disaster.
What Countries Qualify for TPS?
The DHS maintains the federal register, which shows which countries are eligible for TPS and what their registration dates are. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) keeps a current list of countries. If a country is redesignated, dates will be updated to reflect the expected duration of temporary protected status. The following countries currently have TPS designation:
- Burma (Myanmar).
- El Salvador.
- South Sudan.
TPS designation will be different for each country. They will each have unique dates for registration, re-registration, and residence requirements for TPS eligibility. You won’t qualify for TPS simply because you’re from a country on the list. You need to be able to prove that you’ve been in the United States continuously since the country was designated for temporary protected status.
TPS will expire by the listed date unless the country is redesignated for TPS. When a country receives redesignation, TPS beneficiaries must re-register for TPS. If you fail to re-register before the deadline for your country, you can be deported.
Who Is Eligible for TPS?
Eligibility requirements will vary slightly from country to country, but the main points will always be the same. You must be a national of a TPS-designated country or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country.
You also need to file during the open initial registration or re-registration period.
You also need to be able to prove that you were continuously present in the United States since a specific date. This is what makes TPS status significantly different from refugee status. If you were present in the United States before the cutoff date, you can remain under temporary protected status.
If you came to the United States after the event that caused your home country to be designated for TPS, you would not be eligible for TPS, but may be eligible for another status, such as family reunification parole or asylum. The process for seeking asylum status is very different from the process of registering for temporary protected status. It’s important to choose the right process for your situation to reduce the chances that your case will be denied.
Can You Get Work Authorization With TPS?
If you’re allowed to remain in the United States, you’ll need to be able to support yourself. People with temporary protected status are allowed to work in the United States. If you’re granted TPS, you’re allowed to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD is a work permit that will allow you to obtain employment in the United States.
You can apply for an EAD the first time you apply for TPS. Some EADs for TPS holders will be automatically extended to prevent documents from expiring before new ones can be issued.
Can You Travel With TPS?
TPS recipients are allowed to apply for travel authorization documents. It can take up to a year for a travel document to be issued. A travel document is usually valid for one year from the issue date. You need to return to the United States before your travel document expires.
You cannot renew your travel document from outside of the United States. If you fail to return before your document expires, you can be denied entry into the United States.
Can You Be Deported with TPS?
TPS protects recipients from deportation on certain grounds, but there are still rules to follow. If you break the law or fail to re-register for TPS if the Department of Homeland Security extends the date, you can still be deported. It’s important to be mindful of the rules that allow you to remain within the United States for the duration of your home country’s TPS designation.
Can You Get a Green Card With TPS?
Temporary protected status isn’t an immigration status. It’s an ongoing form of protection that allows people from other countries to remain in the United States without a valid green card or visa. There is no pathway to documented immigration through temporary protected status, and you cannot file for an adjustment of status from TPS status to permanent resident status simply because you had TPS.
TPS recipients can still explore pathways to become lawful permanent residents and eventually U.S. citizens while they’re in the United States. For example, TPS recipients who work a specialty job and find employment in the United States can pursue an employment-related visa through their employer while they’re still in the United States on temporary protected status.
Do You Need Immigration Law Help With Your TPS Case?
If you meet the requirements for TPS and register properly, you’re likely to receive TPS. It’s important to do things the right way the first time. Making crucial mistakes, failing to follow the rules, or forgetting to re-register when necessary can lead to deportation.
If you need legal help navigating the TPS application process, Cohen, Tucker + Ades may be able to assist you. Contact us for a consultation to review the details of your case.