Temporary protected status (or “TPS” as it is commonly called) is a designation that is given by the United States to nationals of certain countries that are undergoing a temporary crisis that could prevent that country’s citizens from safely returning. Even undocumented individuals who are nationals of countries facing these types of temporary crises may apply for authorization to work and travel within the United States.

The Purpose of Temporary Protected Status

Temporary protected status is a temporary immigration benefit that allows individuals to live and work in the United States for a specific period of time. This status is available to foreign nationals of certain countries who are already residing in the United States whose home country conditions have been designated by the Department of Homeland Security as unsafe for return. This status currently applies to several countries including: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The list also considers countries that might be affected by armed conflict, environmental disasters, and public health crises. Individuals who are considered eligible for this status are not removable from the United States, cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security, can obtain an employment authorization document, and must apply for travel authorization. Once granted, temporary protected status generally lasts for six to 18 months.

Eligibility for Temporary Protected Status

In order to be eligible for temporary protected status, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • The individual must be a national of the temporary protected status country,
  • The individual must have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the temporary protected status designation of the country,
  • The individual must have resided continuously in the United States since the date designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, and
  • The individual must not have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors and not be a danger to the security of the United States.

Temporary Protected Status Process

There are several essential steps involved in a temporary protected status application. These steps include:

  • Filing an application and providing proof of identity, date of entry and proof of continuous residence,
  • Participating in an interview, and  
  • Waiting for a determination about whether temporary protected status should be granted.

Individuals applying for temporary protected status must present evidence that establishes the individual’s identity and nationality including a passport, a birth certificate, or any national identity document from the alien’s country of origin. This process often takes several months during which time the assistance of a knowledgeable immigration attorney can prove to be particularly beneficial.

Contact a Skilled Immigration Attorney

The immigration process has the potential to be particularly complicated and can involve a number of unique issues. The assistance of a talented immigration attorney like Natalie D. Hall can help individuals respond to a variety of obstacles that can arise concerning immigration. If you or a loved one needs assistance with any aspect of the immigration process, consider retaining the assistance of legal counsel at The Law Office of Natalie D. Hall, PA today.