How does TPS work?
The government of the United States designed special procedures for countries that are engulfed in crisis. It’s called Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and remains connected with certain profits for its beneficiaries. How does TPS work and in what way you can apply for it?
Which countries can be chosen for the TPS procedure?
The Secretary of Homeland Security may choose countries whose situation is unstable and thus renders impossible safe return of its citizens. Usually, TPS is declared, when a country battles with:
- armed conflict or civil war;
- environmental disaster;
- state of the pandemic;
- other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
TPS designation is always time-limited, e.g. several months, but can also be prolonged. Currently, chosen countries are e.g. Ukraine, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, and Afghanistan. During each period of re-registration, each beneficiary must repeat the procedure to maintain TPS.
Who can obtain TPS?
Status of TPS can be granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for two groups of people:
- nationals of a chosen country;
- individuals without nationality who last resided in a designated country.
The eligibility can be twofold and demands conducting of standard procedure or so called prima facie eligibility, which is faster, but available only in extreme circumstances.
In certain situations, you can obtain TPS from an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals. In these cases when applying for USCIS you have to give proof of TPS grant (e.g. a final decision) and a copy of the I-821 application.
It should be noted that TPS does not grant permanent resident status and cannot be equated with asylum or other immigration benefits. Each right is considered separately after evaluating eligibility.
What rights does TPS grant?
During the period of designation, a TPS beneficiary:
- is not removable from The United States;
- can obtain an employment authorization document, which entitles them to take a job;
- may be granted travel authorization outside the United States;
- cannot be detained due to his or her immigrant status.
Beneficiaries of TPS should know that travelling outside the United States without travel authorization may end up in losing TPS and being unable to re-enter. Advance parole for travel has to be solidly grounded and is always issued for a specified period of time.
What are eligibility requirements for TPS?
Before obtaining TPS, the applicant must fulfil certain premises:
- be a national of TPS-chosen country or person without nationality who last habitually resided therein;
- file documents during registration, re-registration period or meet the requirements for filing late;
- can prove continuously residing (CR) or continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States. Only when absences are brief, casual, or innocent, presence is deemed to be uninterrupted. However, it can be questioned by USCIS.
Although TPS premises are not very strict, the procedure is not for everyone. Ineligible are persons who:
- have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States;
- are found inadmissible as an immigrant because of Immigration and Nationality Act;
- are excluded from the Grant of Asylum due to the persecution, terrorist activity, or other serious crimes;
- fail to meet CR or CPP premises;
- fail to meet other requirements for TPS without good reason (e.g. severe medical conditions).
How can you get TPS?
Applying for TPS obliges you to file a “TPS package”, which consists of few elements:
- Filled form I-821 or I-601 depending on circumstances, as well as I-761 for EAD document. Both papers can also be filed online;
- Identity and Nationality Evidence (e.g. passport);
- Date of Entry Evidence (e.g. departure record);
- Continuous Residence Evidence (e.g. employment records, bills).
If you are uncertain of which documents are suitable, contact us for further guidance. We can help you to assess your documents and gather viable ones.
All applications have to be sent in paper or via email, but the exact address differs from one country to another, as well as the dates of documents’ submission.
Do you have to pay for TPS?
Payment for TPS is obligatory if you’re applying for the first time. It depends on a few factors such as:
- Applicant’s age;
- Biometric service;
- Request for EAD.
When applying for re-registration, TPS is free. In any case, you can apply for Fee Waiver if costs are too high.
How does the application process look like?
The first step is always filing a complete petition with all attachments and fees. When USCIS receives your package, it will evaluate it formally and send you a receipt with a unique number for checking the case status online.
When you’re applying for TPS, your biometrics must be collected at the Application Support Center (ASC). Only in special circumstances, USCIC resigns from this step (e.g. the Applicant is under 14 years old, or it is unable to collect biometrics). Data is gathered only once. During re-registration, it is reused.
Further steps include determining work eligibility and a thorough examination of your case. At this time, USCIS can ask you to bring additional documents. It should be done as quickly as possible to avoid delays or abandonment of motion.
USCIS can deliver one of three types of messages:
- approval with or without EAD;
- approval of re-registration with or without EAD;
- denial of the motion.
Each stage of procedure is formal-bound, and it is easier when you use the services of professional lawyers.
Can you appeal a TPS denial?
After receiving a TPS denial, check if you have the right to appeal. If yes, a formal paper must be issued within 30 days to the USCIS Administrative Appeal Office.
When you were placed in removal proceedings and thus cannot appeal, consider the Immigration Judge to determine your application and after that to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Another way is to write a reconsider motion to the Service Center.
It is strongly recommended to pursue legal advice when you’re considering applying for TPS. This way, you can significantly increase the chances of examining your motion positively.