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Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status, or “TPS” provides people from certain countries with ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions that make it unsafe to return, with temporary legal status in the United States. TPS is typically designated for only those countries where there is civil war, a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, or similar circumstances.

TPS is available to you if you are a national of a country with a TPS designation, have been continuously physically present in the United States since your country was designated, have continuously resided in the United States since a date specified by the Department of Homeland Security, and have not been convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors. Other national-security related and criminal issues could keep you from eligibility as well as the ones mentioned above.

If TPS is granted in your case you will receive a work permit, may receive travel authorization, and a stay of deportation. This means that you cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland security based only on your immigration status with TPS.

There are currently ten countries that have been designated for TPS:

  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen

Keep in mind that TPS is only a temporary immigration status and will not last forever. If the U.S. government terminates a country’s TPS designation, beneficiaries from that country will have only be able to keep the immigration status they had before. You should work with an attorney to see if any immigration issues you have can be solved while you have TPS.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about TPS are:

  • How long will TPS last?
    Generally, a country can be designated as TPS eligible for 6, 12, or 18 months at a time. Extension and termination updates are usually published at least 60 days in advance. Keep in mind that your TPS status is only valid so long as your home country is still designated for TPS.
  • Can TPS lead to a green card?
    Not alone. However, the 6th and 9th Circuits of the United States have said that a person with TPS could obtain a green card through a family or employment visa petition even if they entered the country illegally. This means that even if you did not come to the United States with permission, you can apply for a green card without having to ask for that ground of inadmissibility to be waived.
  • Can I travel with TPS?
    To travel outside the United States with TPS, you will have to apply for a travel permit. If you travel outside the United States without permission you may lose TPS and be denied permission to re-enter the country.
  • What happens to me when my TPS ends?
    This depends on what immigration status you had before you were granted TPS. If you entered the country illegally (without inspection) and are not eligible for any other immigration status, you will generally be expected to return to your home country.

If you think you may be eligible for TPS contact our Nashville immigration attorney at (615) 475-7041 for a free consultation.