Recently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has named additional countries of origin that will qualify a noncitizen for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). You may have noticed these announcements in immigration news, but you were unsure what TPS means.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a designation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS that allows foreign nationals to remain in the United States during a period in which it is dangerous to return to their home country.
What countries are designated by DHS/USCIS for TPS?
The list of TPS countries has been growing in 2021 with new nations being named as eligible each week. Currently, the list of countries includes:
The list of TPS countries is fluid, so it is prudent to check with the USCIS announcements or with an immigration attorney for the latest group of eligible nations. Some countries that no longer qualify as TPS countries include Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
Requirements for TPS Approval
Each person’s circumstances are unique, so meeting the minimum qualifications for Temporary Protected Status does not mean an automatic approval by the U.S. government. However, the general criteria for TPS are:
Continuous residence can be an issue for noncitizens if they have traveled abroad for long periods, but there can be an exception for short departures from the USA.
Obstacles to TPS Status
Persons who have been convicted of two or more misdemeanors or even one felony could be prevented from gaining TPS status in the United States. Additionally, those who are subject to any mandatory bars to asylum may be ineligible for TPS if they are found to have participated in persecution or acts of terrorism.
The failure to meet DHS/USCIS deadlines can also keep someone from qualifying for Temporary Protected Status, so it is wise to stay on top of all calendar limitations. Working with a local immigration attorney can be beneficial, so that initial and subsequent registration dates are not missed.
What do you need to do to gain Temporary Protected Status?
Those who want to apply for TPS, will need to file Form 821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Additionally, if you are facing any of the bars to Temporary Protected Status, you might need to submit Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
There are also country-specific requirements and benefits, so applicants should check with the USCIS website and possibly an immigration lawyer near them. Each person’s immigration case is different, so the criteria for gaining TPS status, the USCIS forms that should be filed, and the evidence that should be attached to an I-821 application can vary by the foreign national.