Prominent Immigration Lawyer Ghassan “Gus” Shihab, who is of Syrian origin himself applauds the US government for announcing that it will designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status. Because of the worsening security situation in Syria, the US Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) stated on Friday March 23, 2012 that it will designate Syria for an 18 month TPS. The details as to how and when Citizens of Syria currently in the US can apply for this benefit will be announced in few days.
If you are a Syrian national presently in the US, such designation will allow you to remain in the United States legally, and to receive work authorization and travel privileges, so long as Syria continues to be renewed for TPS designation. The designation is not effective yet, but the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (“USCIS”) will host a public meeting to discuss the process and how and when applications will be accepted. The designation is expected to become effective this coming week. Attorney Gus Shihab of The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates will be attending this meeting and will post here on the latest developments.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
TPS is a temporary benefit afforded by the US government given to eligible individuals from designated countries or portions thereof, in this case Syria, who are unable to return to their home countries for a variety of reasons. The law enumerates several reasons and circumstances for a country to be so designated. One of such reasons is the occurrence of ongoing armed conflict within the country and because of such conflict the return of the foreign nationals to that country would be extremely dangerous, which is the case for Syria today.
How is A Country Designated for TPS?
The US Attorney General has the power, under US immigration laws, to designate the citizens of a certain countries for TPS benefits because of circumstances currently existing in their country. The Attorney General will create a notice of the designation in the Federal Register and will estimate the number of nationals of the foreign country who are likely to benefit from the designation. We are expecting the announcement in the Federal Register within few days.
What is the Length of Time Syria will be Designated for TPS?
18 months. The DHS announced that the designation will initially be for 18 months. At the end of the 18 month period, the Attorney General may extend this designation for Syria for an additional period of time.
Can I work and Travel While on TPS?
Yes. You may receive work authorization While on TPS status and travel in and out of the US freely but you must apply for TPS to receive such benefits. But remember, these benefits exist only while Syria continues to be designated for TPS by the US Attorney General. Some countries have received TPS designation for many years. While we hope for the situation in Syria to improve in the very near future, TPS is a great benefit for those Syrian Nationals within the US.
I am Syrian and Have Been in the US without Status Can I Benefit?
Yes. Any Syrian National who is presently in the US is eligible for this benefit. This is true whether you are legally or illegally present. Once approved, you are eligible to receive work authorization and legally reside in the US.
Does TPS Allow Me to Remain in the US Permanently?
No. TPS does not lead to permanent residence (“Green Card”). It is important to Note that once country conditions which gave rise to the designation are improved, the Attorney General may removed the designation for Syria. This means that if and once the TPS designation is removed from Syria, your immigration status will revert back to what it was prior to the designation. However, TPS is an opportunity for many to legalize their immigration stance in the US. Contact us for additional discussions regarding your immigration status and how TPS might help you.
Is There A Danger from Applying for TPS?
No. For many people, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an opportunity to legally reside and work in the US. For many, it is an opportunity to improve one’s immigration status by applying for other immigration benefits.
TPS is a benefit; it is not a detriment. If you currently have good and valid status in the US such as H-1B visa or otherwise, it may or may not be advantageous for you to apply for TPS. Each situation must be carefully examined and studied.
How Do I Apply for TPS?
Gus Shihab, a Syrian and US Citizen himself, has nearly 19 years of experience representing thousands of immigrants. Our law firm will carefully work with your particular situation and will only apply those immigration solutions which will enhance your stature in the US. Mr. Shihab received many honors and has been highly regarded by his peers as a Top Lawyer. Review his clients’ reviews here. Contact us for an initial consultation.