What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a provisional benefit. It allows people already in the United States who come from certain countries with extraordinary and dangerous conditions to legally live and work temporarily.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates which foreign nationals can benefit from the program temporarily. It is granted for six to 18 months and can be extended. TPS is only a temporary benefit and is not a direct avenue for individuals to receive permanent residence (“green card“) or any other type of immigration status.
TPS is a special designation that the DHS gives to some countries with dangerous or temporary conditions. These circumstances typically could prevent their citizens from returning safely to their home country.
In other special circumstances, countries are included in the TPS list if:
- They cannot process the return of their citizens
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants TPS status to citizens of countries that have been designated as “TPS nations”
People can claim to have a nationality admitted to TPS because that country was their last place of residence. This allows them to qualify for temporary protected status, even if they do not have citizenship in that country.
Countries that have the following social contexts may be eligible to receive a TPS designation:
- Security concerns and social unrest, such as a civil war or armed conflict in progress
- Natural disasters such as hurricane, earthquake, or illness
- Crippling poverty or lack of access to food and basic resources
- Some instances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
- Other temporary or extraordinary circumstance
Immigrants who become TPS beneficiaries generally cannot be relocated from the United States. However, they may receive a travel authorization depending on the circumstances.
TPS beneficiaries are eligible to receive an employment authorization document (EAD) and obtain legal status that allows them to remain on U.S. land.
TPS recipients can do the following if they wish to remain in the U.S.:
- Apply for nonimmigrant status
- Apply for an adjustment of status
- Apply for other immigration programs or protections for which they are eligible
Qualifying for TPS status does not give the immigrant any special advantage when applying for other types of immigration benefits. The applicant must meet all the eligibility requirements of U.S. Immigration law for any other benefits they need.
In this regard, TPS resident status will not prevent or help the individual for qualifying for asylum. Similarly, being denied or granted asylum does not affect a person’s ability to obtain TPS, but may be denied for the same reasons.
If you come from countries designated with TPS and meet the requirements, you may qualify for the benefits of the temporary protection program. This will allow you to stay and obtain a temporary work permit in the U.S.
The countries included are:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
TPS has its own special rules and requirements, just like any application you make through USCIS. If you are approved for the temporary TPS benefit, you must remember that you will have to re-enroll to extend your permission.
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