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What is Temporary Protected Status and am I eligible?

Temporary Protected Status is provided by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when it is believed that the immigrant would not be able to return safely to his or her home country. The Secretary designates specific countries or portions of countries from which immigrants hail based on temporary conditions in those countries, such as environmental disasters, civil war or an epidemic.

This status is given to eligible individuals who are currently residing in the United States. While this status does not provide an immigrant with an immigrant visa, individuals who have this status can apply for a non-immigrant visa, obtain employment authorization and be granted travel authorization. Additionally, individuals with this status cannot be removed from the U.S. based on their immigration status alone.

Eligibility requirements include being a citizen of a country that the Secretary has designated for Temporary Protected Status, filing within the designated time frame and being physically present in the United States since the effective date for TPS and continuously residing in the country since the effective date. However, an individual who is subject to a mandatory bar to asylum, who has been convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors while in the United States or who is found to be inadmissible on non-waivable security-related grounds, criminal grounds or other grounds in the Immigration and Nationality Act will not be eligible.

Once provided with TPS, the individual must re-register as required or else such status may be lost. Individuals who would like to learn more about Temporary Protected Status may find it advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer to determine if they may be eligible and what the benefits of having this type of status are.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Temporary Protected Status", November 08, 2014

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