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What is temporary protected status?

Temporary protected status is afforded by the Secretary of Homeland Security to immigrants coming from countries deemed unsafe, either due to unrest or because of a natural disaster. When this status is granted the person is not able to be removed from the country, can be authorized to work, and may even be permitted to travel in some situations. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers the following information on TPS and how to determine eligibility.

Countries currently listed

While new countries and regions can be added as the need arises, several countries are currently listed under TPS regulations. For example, Nicaragua, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Haiti are currently on the list of TPS-eligible countries. In some cases, only a portion of the country may be considered impacted. Additionally, countries and regions will only be included on the list as long as a threat or condition is considered viable.

How to tell if you’re eligible

TPS extends to both nationals as well as those who lived in a listed country for an extended period of time. Along with being a former resident of a country currently listed, you must also have remained in the U.S. from the most recent TPS designation date for your country of residence. You may be considered ineligible if you have a felony conviction or two or misdemeanors on your record during your time in the U.S., or if you are considered a security threat.

What to expect during the application process

Filing your initial petition entails submitting the application, supporting documents, and processing fees. Upon receipt, the USCIS will review your submission and possibly arrange an appointment at the Application Support Center if biometrics are requested. If you’d like to work while in the U.S., you’ll also be subject to employment authorization screening. After a thorough review of all information, including any supplemental documents requested, your application will be approved or denied. You do have the option to appeal your denied application. 

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