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Temporary Protected Status: What this could mean for You
Do you know what it’s like not being able to go home to your home country because it’s not safe? What’s it like if your home country is in the midst of a disaster or war and you’re stuck in another country?
Like what is happening between Ukraine and Russia right now? A lot of people can’t go back home because it’s not safe.
Because of this, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Ukraine would be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. TPS is available for Ukrainian nationals already in the U.S. on or before March 1, 2022.
However, it is not only for Ukraine. DHS has also announced a new designation for Afghanistan on March 6, 2022.
Hence, if you are a Ukrainian who arrived in the US after March 1, 2022, or an Afghan who arrived in the US after March 6, 2022, this isn’t for you.
But what is TPS? Who can file for TPS? And what should you do to get TPS? This article covers what Temporary Protective Status means to other nationals who are in the US at a time when their country is in crisis.
What is TPS?
Temporary Protective Status means three things:
- You are allowed to lawfully remain in the U.S.;
- You can apply for work authorization during the TPS period; and
- You may also be granted travel permissions.
You should, however, take note that TPS is a temporary benefit. It cannot lead to Permanent Resident status or any other immigration status, by itself. You will need a different path, like a family or employment-based petition.
Nevertheless, registration for TPS does not prevent you from applying for more permanent status.
But, TPS is not for those who already have valid non-immigrant Visas or those who hold Lawful Permanent Resident status.
Do I qualify for TPS?
To be eligible for this TPS, you must:
- First – Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country;
- Second – File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or you meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation;
- Third – Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country which is March 1, 2022, for Ukrainians and March 6, 2022, for Afghans; and
- Fourth- Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since March 1, 2022, for Ukrainians and March 6, for Afghans. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, innocent absences from the U.S.
When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States, and USCIS will determine whether the exception applies to you.
But take note that there are things that may disqualify you from TPS such as:
- Conviction of a felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
- Failure to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
- If you are granted TPS, failure to re-register when required, without good cause.
How do I apply for TPS?
TPS is not automatic. You will need to file for this and we can help you with that. What you will be needing are:
- Forms – The one you need is Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. You can also request an employment authorization document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765 while filing for TPS.
- Evidence – You will need to provide evidence of your nationality, Date of entry, and continuous residence, like your passport and documents that indicate your lawful entry to the United States.
- Fees – You may be required to pay filing fees. It depends on your age and is usually less than $500.
Consult an Immigration Attorney
If you are a Ukrainian or an Afghan national who can’t go back to your home country right now, or if you know someone who you think needs TPS, a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney can provide assistance in filing for TPS or exploring your options.
You can contact us today to help you in your filing, or even in your immigration journey.Share This Post!