Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status in the United States, which the Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to grant to nationals of certain countries. Countries qualify for a TPS designation when they face ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions, which prevent their citizens from returning home safely. At the present, thirteen countries have TPS designation. They include El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
TPS is available to eligible individuals who are already in the United States. While TPS is in effect, TPS holders are not removable from the United States and can obtain permission to work. They may be also granted permission to travel abroad. TPS is a temporary benefit granted by the government; it does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or bestow any other immigration status.
If a TPS beneficiary is otherwise eligible, such as through a bona fide marriage to a U.S. Citizen, he or she applies for other immigration benefits, including adjustment of status. The new exciting development pertains specifically to TPS recipients’ ability to file their green card applications. On March 31, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that under the TPS provisions, a TPS beneficiary is considered to be in lawful status and the grant of his or her TPS satisfies the inspection and admission requirement for the purpose of adjustment of status. Before the ruling, TPS beneficiaries who had initially entered the United States illegally could not apply for green cards without first leaving abroad under specific circumstances. Pursuant to the March 31, 2017 ruling, they are now able to file for their green cards in the United States without the need of leaving the country even if their initial entries were undocumented.
If you are a TPS recipient or you qualify to apply for TPS, this new development in the law can pave a way for you to permanently legalize your immigration status. Please contact us and we will be happy to evaluate your case.
Kelly S. O’Reilly
Kelly O’Reilly is a founding partner with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and is a former District Adjudications Officer for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Los Angeles and Orange County. As an officer, Mr. O’Reilly was given the responsibility for adjudicating Employment-based and Family-based applications for Lawful Permanent Residency, Requests for Travel, Work Authorization, and Waivers of Inadmissibility. He was also responsible for conducting Marriage Fraud Interviews and requests for Naturalization.
Agnieszka (Aggie) Dolinska
Aggie Dolinska is an Associate Attorney with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and heads the firm’s removal defense practice group. She is Board Certified as a specialist in immigration and nationality law by the State Bar of California’s Bureau of Legal Specialization. Ms. Dolinska’s immigration practice involves all areas of Immigration and Nationality Law, including family and employment-based immigration, non-immigrant visas, removal defense, litigation, and asylum law. Ms. Dolinska is currently the head of the litigation and deportation department in our office. Her removal defense practice includes representing clients in proceedings before the Immigration Court and on appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.