statue of liberty

From natural disasters to civil wars, temporary conditions make countries all over the world unsafe for their own citizens. A nuclear disaster, or a hurricane, or war, can make it too dangerous for foreign nationals located in the United States to return to their home countries. If you are in the United States temporarily and are supposed to return home, but an earthquake strikes and your country is now unsafe and you are not able to return, you may not know what to do.

Thankfully, the United States Office of Homeland Security has the ability to grant foreign nationals Temporary Protected Status. This means that you are protected and able to stay in the United States under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, until it is safe to return to your home country.

For eligible nationals residing in the United States, finding out your home country is dealing with dangerous conditions, whatever the might be, can be traumatizing on its own, and dealing with Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices can cause even more stress and heartache. If your country has been added to the Temporary Protected Status list, and you wish to apply for TPS, contact the Law Office of Jason A. Dennis immediately.

As an experienced NYC immigration law attorney, Jason Dennis is here to make sure your application is turned in in a timely manner, correctly, and the added stress of dealing with the government is taken off your shoulders.

What does Temporary Protected Status grant you?

If you have been granted Temporary Protected Status, and are residing in the United States, it is important to remember that this status is temporary, not permanent. This means you have not been granted permanent resident status. You, however, are allowed to apply for non-immigrant status or any other type of immigration status, including green cards and permanent resident status.

You are also under protection from deportation while you hold legal status under Temporary Protected Status, and you may be able to apply for travel authorization to travel in and out of the United States as needed. You may also be able to apply to work in the United States.

Because Temporary Protected Status is meant to be temporary, until your home country is safe to return to, it is important to not lay down permanent roots in the United States unless you are applying for some type of immigrant or permanent resident status also. If you wish to buy a home in the United States, or attend higher education, getting started on your green card, or student visa, etc., is paramount while you are under temporary protected status. Your goal should be to complete your other immigration goals before your Temporary Protected Status ends.

Because each country is on the temporary protected status list for different reasons, there are several different designations for how long your TPS is valid for: 6-month period, 12-month period, or 18-month period. If you do not file your re-registation in time, you will lose your temporary protected status.

How do I know if I am eligible for Temporary Protected Status?

The first, and biggest stipulation, to apply for TPS is your country of origin, or current country of residence, being on the list of countries currently listed under Temporary Protected Status eligibility. If you are an eligible nationals, you must apply for TPS during the initial open registration or during the re-registration period, and you must have physical presence in the United States, or be residing in the United States, for the designation date of your country of origin. You may still be eligible even if you have left the United States briefly or casually during this period. To find the designation period for your country, you can visit your countries page on the USCIS website.

Even if you meet this criteria, you may still be rejected, or have your status revoked, for various reasons. If you are found guilty of inciting or engaging in terrorism, you are convicted of a felony, or two misdemeanors, or if you miss the re-registration period, you will either lose your status or your application will be rejected. If you lose status, or you are rejected, you can be immediately deported from the United States and will not be able to enter the United States at any Port of Entry.

Which country’s citizens qualify for TPS?

At time of writing, there are 12 countries currently on the Temporary Protected Status list.

  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Burma (Myanmar)*
  • Haiti*
  • Somalia*
  • Syria*
  • Venezuela*
  • Yemen*

Any countries marked with a * are also eligible for online filing to apply for TPS.

This list is constantly updated, and can change from day to day, depending on circumstances that may pop up. For example, if an environmental disaster happens in a foreign country, this might make citizens of that country eligible to stay temporarily in the United States if they were here at the time of that disaster. Their country will stay on the TPS list until it is safe to return to their home county.

How do I apply for TPS?

Temporary Protected Status is a very niche section of immigration law and, as such, has strict rules about applications. You must first provide evidence of your connection to the TPS approved nation, whether the nation is your home country or a country you have been residing in for a period of time, as well as proof of when you entered the United States at a valid port of entry, and evidence of your continuous residence within the United States.

If these documents are filled out in a language other than English, you must also provide translated copies of these documents in English. If your documents must be translated, you must also provide evidence that the translator is fluid in both English and the original documents language, as well ensure that the translation is correct, to the best of your knowledge and belief.

This evidence can vary, depending on your circumstances. If you hold citizenship in the country that is under TPS then you can provide your passport or birth certificate, etc. If you have simply been residing in the country under TPS then you may be able to provide school or medical documents as proof.

If you are unable to provide proof for any reason you must provide evidence that you attempted to the best of your ability to obtain the documents you are not able to present. In the case you are not able to present any evidence of your nationality, you will be asked to attend interviews with Immigration Services to verify that you are a citizen of the country you are applying for TPS under.

For evidence of your date of entry into the United States, you can also present your passport, which will have been stamped and dated upon your arrival at whichever Port of Entry you entered the United States from. Continuous residence requirements for proof can be any number of things from bills in your name, rent payment receipts, employment records, or even signed and notarized documents from various types of religious groups or other organizations that have had knowledge of your whereabouts.

I missed the registration/re-registration period for my country

Missing the registration period isn’t the end of the road. There is an additional period is which an immigration judge may still grant you temporary protected status. You must meet the criteria listed here on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, under “Filing Late”. It is much harder to gain or retain TPS if you file late, which is why it is important to begin the process as soon as you possibly can.

How much does the TPS application cost?

You will be required to pay application fees, as well as biometrics fees. The filing fee for the initial application is $50, but you are allowed to apply for a fee waiver if you cannot afford the fee. If you are also filing form I-765, application for request for employment authorization, so that you can work while you are residing in the United States, there are additional fees associated with that.

The average person, over the age of 14, applying for TPS and Employment Authorization pays $545 for their initial applications and biometrics, and $495 every time you must re-register. This is per person applying, except for children under the age of 14. That means couples must each pay $545 for their initial registration, or $1090 total.

The Time is Now

Hundreds of thousands of people currently reside in the United States under temporary protected status. When disaster strikes, whether natural or manmade, and your country is added to the TPS list, there can be no hesitation. If you miss the window, it may be impossible for you to be granted this status at all, which can make staying in the United States extremely hard or, in some cases, impossible. Waiting is not an option, and finding an immigration attorney that you can trust your future with is paramount to your continued presence in the United States.

The Law Office of Jason A. Dennis has experience in all aspects of immigration and naturalization service, and temporary protected status, including but not limited to:

  • eligibility requirements
  • immigration benefits
  • employment authorization documents
  • registration and re-registration applications for TPS
  • filing deadlines
  • permanent residence

No matter what questions you have, or what help you need, Jason A. Dennis New York Immigration lawyer is here to help you. Call today for a free consultation.