Foreign nationals who encounter problems that make it either difficult or unsafe for them to return to their home country are issued a temporary immigration status known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
With this immigration status, individuals who are already in the United States when problems in a home country make their departure or deportation untenable are protected and permitted to stay in the U.S.
In this article, we have discussed a summary of how TPS designations are determined, the benefits TPS gives to its holder, and how TPS beneficiaries apply and renew their status regularly.
What is the meaning of Temporary Protected Status?
In the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS was launched by Congress and just as we stated earlier, it is a temporary immigration status issued to foreigners of particularly designated countries that are being faced with an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or exceptional and temporary conditions.
In addition to this, foreign nationals from those countries who are in the United States at the time the United States government makes the designation are issued a work permit.
What could make a country be designated for TPS?
As a result of the reasons mentioned below, a country may be designated for TPS:
- Due to an ongoing armed conflict, like a civil war, such can be seen as a critical threat to the personal safety of nationals who are returning;
- Due to an environmental disaster, like a hurricane, earthquake, or epidemic, that leads to a significant but temporal reduction in standards of living, and as a result of this, the foreign state is temporarily not able to adequately take care of the return of its nationals; or
- Due to special and momentary conditions in the foreign state that stop its nationals from returning to the state in safety (unless the U.S. government discovers that allowing these nationals to stay back temporarily in the U.S is contrary to the interest of the United States).
Who has the power to assign a country for TPS?
It is the responsibility of the Secretary of Homeland Security to make decisions as regards when a country deserves a TPS designation, however, the Secretary must discuss with other government agencies before deciding to designate either a country or part of a country for TPS.
Other agencies we stated earlier are not defined in the statute, but we know that they usually involve the Department of State, the National Security Council, and occasionally the Department of Justice (DOJ). According to immigration law, the Secretary’s decision is not subject to judicial review, according to.
What is the time duration for the TPS designations?
The time duration for a TPS designation could be 6, 12, or 18 months at a time. In addition to this, two months before the expiration of TPS, the Secretary has to decide whether to extend or end a designation depending on the conditions in the foreign country but whatever decision the Secretary makes must be published in the Federal Register.
If the Secretary fails to publish the decision whether to extend or terminate at least 60 days before the expiration, the designation will have to be extended for six months. There is no limit on the amount of time for which a country can have access to a TPS designation according to the Law.
Who is qualified for TPS?
For an individual to be eligible for TPS:
- He/she must be a citizen of the foreign country with a TPS designation (or if stateless, the individual must have lived in a country with a TPS designation last);
- He/she must be frequent present physically in the U.S since the effective date of designation;
- He/she must have frequently lived in the U.S since the specified date by the Secretary of Homeland Security, and finally,
- He/she must not be banned from the asylum or be inadmissible to the U.S as a result of either certain criminal or national security-related reasons, like individuals who have been convicted of any felony or more than two misdemeanors.
Furthermore, if you are a national of a designated country, you are not automatically issued a TPS, instead, you have to register within a particular registration period and pay the necessary fees. Also, neither the immigration status of the individual at the time of application nor the past issuance of a removal order affects the eligibility of the individual.
What does TPS permit a noncitizen to do?
Firstly, for you to be eligible for TPS, you must register by applying to an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once you are qualified and given a TPS, you will be issued both a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the U.S, also, you are permitted to travel and return to the U.S though you have to apply for it separately. Nevertheless, you are not entitled to any form of public assistance.
Countries that have TPS
The twelve countries listed below were designated for TPS as of September 2021 which is yet to expire :
- Burma (Valid through November 25, 2022)
- El Salvador (Valid through December 31, 2022)
- Haiti (Valid through December 31, 2022)
- Honduras (Valid through December 31, 2022)
- Nepal (Valid through December 31, 2022)
- Nicaragua (Valid through December 31, 2022)
- Somalia (Valid through March 17, 2023)
- South Sudan (Valid through May 2, 2022)
- Sudan (Valid through December 31, 2022)
- Syria (Valid through September 30, 2022)
- Venezuela (Extended until September 9, 2022)
- Yemen (Extended until March 3, 2023)
Are there countries that have had TPS in the past?
Since the launching of TPS, the countries or parts of countries listed below have had TPS designations, unfortunately, they have expired:
- Angola (Terminated on the 29th of March, 2003)
- Bosnia-Herzegovina (Terminated on the 10th of February, 2001)
- Burundi (Terminated on the 2nd of May, 2009)
- Guinea (Terminated on the 21st of May, 2017)
- Guinea-Bissau (Terminated on the 10th of September, 2000)
- Province of Kosovo (Terminated on the 8th of December, 2000)
- Kuwait (Terminated on the 27th of March, 1992)
- Lebanon (Terminated on the 9th of April, 1993)
- Liberia (Terminated on the 21st of May, 2017)
- Montserrat (Terminated on the 27th of August, 2004)
- Rwanda (Terminated on the 6th of December, 1997)
- Sierra Leone (Terminated on the 21st of May, 2017)
Does TPS allow for permanent residence or citizenship?
Interestingly, a valid TPS holder, if eligible for permanent residence can apply for that status.
Nevertheless, in June 2021, the Supreme Court made a declaration that a TPS recipient who got into the U.S without inspection is not qualified to upgrade his or her status to permanent residence from within the United States. Therefore, for such a person to be qualified, he/she has to leave the United States to have a visa processed at a consular post.
However, leaving the country to have a visa interview oftentimes leads to bars to re-entry for up to 10 years for some TPS holders, but another way you can go about it is to obtain advance permission from USCIS which is known as advance parole, this way, you can travel abroad, and paroled back into the U.S.
When a TPS designation ends, what happens to a TPS beneficiary?
Upon expiration of the TPS status, the beneficiaries are expected to return to the immigration status that they held before they were issued a TPS unless in a case whereby the former status has expired or the person has successfully obtained a new immigration status.
Summarily, a TPS can be referred to as a haven for foreign nationals in the United States who are unable to return to their home countries as a result of some issues in the country.
By the virtue of this article, you know what a TPS means, how to get one, countries that are presently or were previously designated a TPS, how long a TPS is valid, the requirements necessary to obtain one, and finally, what happens to a TPS beneficiary upon the expiration of a TPS designation.