Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an immigration designation used for foreign nationals from certain countries that are currently considered to be too dangerous for their citizens to be deported back to. Since 1990, hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals that were/are in the U.S. have utilized there Temporary Protected Status to stave off deportation to dangerous (and many times, deadly) situations that are occurring within their home country. However, as the name suggests, this is not designed to be a long-term solution nor a pathway to citizenship. It is only viable for individuals from countries that have been granted this designation. When it is ended, they must return home or face deportation. At Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we assist our clients in applying for TPS if they are qualified for this option. Our attorneys also offer information and guidance to those that have been approved so they know what steps they need to take in order to remain eligible and what options they have once their TPS has been terminated. Give us a call today to discuss the details of your case furthers. Learn more about Temporary Protected Status below.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
In 1990, the U.S. Congress included provisions for TPS within the Immigration Act of 1990. This status was specifically created for foreign nationals of countries that are experiencing significant humanitarian problems like major environmental disasters, ongoing armed conflicts, and other types of extraordinarily dangerous conditions in their home countries. Those that have been approved for Temporary Protected Status are granted work permits as well as a temporary stay of deportation (in the case that the foreign nationals were within the U.S. at the time that the TPS designation was made).
How is a Country Designated for TPS?
As previously mentioned, there are only three reasons that a country can be designated for Temporary Protected Status. However, the U.S. government offers rather loose definitions for each reason provided. Listed below are the main reasons that a country can be designed for TPS.
- Ongoing Armed Conflict: This can include civil wars, external wars, genocide, insurgency, etc. that render conditions unsafe for nationals to return to their home country.
- Major Environmental Disaster: Examples of an environmental disaster can include typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes, disease outbreak, etc. that leads to conditions that make it unsafe for the return of a national to their home country. In some instances, this can also apply to environmental disasters that cause a nationals home country to be unable to adequately handle their return.
- Extraordinary and temporary: These represent conditions that disallow foreign nationals from safely returning to their home country.
It is important to note that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) makes the final decision about what country is eligible for TPS. However, they do confer with other government agencies before making a final determination.
How Long Do TPS Designations Last?
TPS designations can be made in intervals of 6, 12, and 18 months. Decisions regarding the extension of the Temporary Protected Status must be made 60 days before the most recent designation expires. If no decision is made by the DHS, TPS is automatically extended for an additional six months. TPS designations can be extended indefinitely or until the DHS determines that it is no longer necessary.
Who is Eligible For Temporary Protected Status?
Designations for TPS are determined for entire countries. However, this does not mean that all nationals from designated countries automatically become TPS beneficiaries. They must register and pay fees. It should be noted that a person’s immigration status is not considered when decisions of eligibility are made. This is true whether or not a foreign national has already received an order of removal for unrelated reasons. To be eligible for TPS a foreign national must meet the following qualifications:
- Must be a national or habitual resident of the country that has been granted a TPS designation
- Have continuously been present and resided within the U.S. since the initial date of TPS designation specified by the DHS
- Pass a background check (no felonies, no more than two misdemeanors), not be deemed a threat to U.S. national security, or otherwise deemed ineligible to seek asylum for criminal-related activities
Current Countries With TPS Designations
Many of the current TPS designations have been terminated by the U.S. government. However, they will not be enforced until there are rulings made on current cases within the judicial system that oppose the termination of certain TPS designations. Currently, the countries with an active TPS designation include:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
Can You Become a Permanent Resident or Citizen as a TPS Designee?
Unless a TPS beneficiary was already eligible for permanent residence before the status was granted, those with a TPS designation are not provided with a path to citizenship. Making attempts at becoming a permanent resident or citizen while being a TPS beneficiary could have a negative effect on a beneficiary’s future prospects of entering the U.S. If you are not sure if you are eligible to apply for permanent residence or citizenship, contact the TPS attorneys at Florida Immigration Law Counsel to discuss your case.
What if Your TPS Designation Ends?
If your TPS designation ends, you will return to the immigration status that you were at before the designation was made. This means that if you were an undocumented alien before TPS, you will return to that status and face deportation. This is the case for all TPS beneficiaries unless there has been a change in their immigration status.
Working With a TPS Attorney
As you can likely see, TPS Temporary Protected Status is complex and fluid. Your situation can quickly change without much notice. It is recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney that has an in-depth understanding of TPS so you can be prepared for all potential scenarios. Give the TPS attorneys at Florida Immigration Law Counsel a call to schedule your initial consultation today.