Temporary protected status (TPS) is a form of protection that can be granted to a person living in the United States who is a citizen of another country that the U.S. government has labeled as in turmoil. This includes countries in the midst of an armed conflict, a natural disaster or a variety of other unusual and transient conditions that result in an unsafe environment. As temporary status, TPS is valid for a set amount of time and is not equivalent, nor does it entitle one, to a green card or any other type of visa.
Which Nationalities Are Eligible for TPS?
A current list of eligible countries can be found in the Federal Register. In recent years, TPS has been awarded to citizens of these countries:
- El Salvador
How Many People Receive TPS Each Year?
The government has neither a minimum nor a maximum limit on the number of persons that can be given asylum each year. However, there are limits on the number of refugees that are allowed to stay in the U.S. This number is per country and is set by the president of our country. Temporary protected status is currently restricted to those from a particular set of countries, but does not have a limit on the number of individuals.
The Application Process
Refugee and asylum application approval may take months or over a year. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, however, has the power to grant temporary protected status in as little as two to three weeks. If your country is listed on the Federal Registrar (see above) and you are not subject to any of the criteria barring you from temporary protected status, you may fill out Form I-821 (or Form I-821A) to initiate the application process.
Legal and Work Status
Persons granted TPS are legally employable and may reside in the U.S. until the termination of the period of time. Temporary protected status does not, however, help individuals to gain permanent residency in the U.S. If a country is removed from the Federal Register, any individuals holding temporary protected status will have their citizenship status reverted to its previous state.
Is It Necessary to Hire an Immigration Lawyer?
An immigration lawyer, while not strictly required, may be very helpful in guiding you through the process and paperwork. Many are experts in the technical and logistical aspects of the process and are therefore good resources for advice and guidance.
For more information regarding temporary protected status, speak to Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.