The Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to designate a country, or portion of a country, for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in certain circumstances that prevent the country’s nationals from returning to the country safely or if the country is not capable of adequately handling the return of its nationals. Such circumstances include ongoing armed conflict (i.e. civil war), environmental disasters (i.e. a hurricane or earthquake), an epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
If a country is designated for TPS, during the designated period, the eligible nationals of that country who are already in the United States are not removable and may obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) and travel authorization. In addition, a TPS beneficiary cannot be detained by the DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the U.S. While TPS is temporary and does not lead to lawful permanent residence or grant any other immigration status, a TPS beneficiary may still apply for nonimmigrant status, file for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition, or apply for any other immigration benefit or protection for which the beneficiary is eligible.
Who is eligible for TPS?
In order to be prima facie eligible for TPS, the individual must:
- be a national of the country designed for TPS (if a person does not have a nationality, then he or she must have last habitually resided in the designated country);
- file for TPS status during the open initial registration or re-registration period;
- have continuous physical presence in the United States since the date of designation; and
- have continuously resided in the United States since the date specified at designation.
However, an individual seeking TPS may not be eligible if he or she:
- has ever been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors that were committed in the United States;
- is found to be inadmissible as an immigrant under INA Section 212(a);
- is subject to the mandatory bars to asylum, including participating in the persecution of another person or engaging in or inciting terrorist activities;
- fails to meet initial TPS registration requirements;
- if granted TPS, failed to re-register for TPS; or
- failed to maintain continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States.