Welcome to our guide on how to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). If you’re in the United States and facing a temporary crisis in your home country that makes it unsafe for you to return, TPS can provide you with temporary relief from deportation and work authorization. In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of applying for TPS, ensuring you have all the information you need to navigate the application successfully.
Eligibility Criteria for TPS
Before diving into the application process, let’s go over the eligibility criteria for Temporary Protected Status.
Nationality and Country Designation
To be eligible for TPS, you must be a national of a country designated by the U.S. government for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines which countries qualify for TPS based on ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances.
Time of Entry
You must have entered the United States before the specified cutoff date determined by DHS. This requirement ensures that you were present in the country before the TPS designation was made for your home country.
Continuous Residence and Physical Presence
To qualify for TPS, you must have continuously resided in the United States since the specified date established by DHS. Additionally, you must have been physically present in the country throughout this period.
Having certain criminal convictions may render you ineligible for TPS. Serious crimes, such as felonies, will typically disqualify you from the program. However, it’s important to consult an immigration attorney or legal expert to assess your specific circumstances.
Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for TPS
Now that you understand the eligibility criteria, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of applying for Temporary Protected Status.
Research and Gather Information
Start by researching the designated countries for TPS and verifying if your home country is on the list. Visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or consult with an immigration attorney to gather accurate and up-to-date information.
Complete the Application Form
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, it’s time to complete the TPS application form (Form I-821). The form requires personal information, including your name, address, and immigration status, as well as details about your entry and continuous residence in the United States.
Gather Supporting Documents
Accompanying your application, you’ll need to provide supporting documents thatprove your eligibility for TPS. These may include:
- Proof of nationality (passport, birth certificate, or national identity card)
- Evidence of entry and continuous residence in the United States (travel records, leases, utility bills, or employment records)
- Any relevant documentation related to the designated country’s crisis or disaster
- Criminal record clearance certificates (if applicable)
- Two passport-sized photos
Submitting the Application
Once you have completed the application form and gathered all the required supporting documents, you can submit your TPS application to USCIS. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by USCIS regarding submission methods, such as mail or online filing.
Paying the Application Fee
There is usually an application fee associated with TPS. Check the USCIS website for the current fee amount and payment instructions. In some cases, you may be eligible for a fee waiver if you can demonstrate financial hardship.
After submitting your application, you will receive a notice from USCIS to schedule a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be collected for background checks.
Waiting for a Decision
Following the biometrics appointment, you’ll need to wait for USCIS to process your application. The processing time can vary, but you can check the USCIS website for estimated processing times. Be patient during this period and avoid making any international travel plans.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To increase your chances of a successful TPS application, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that could lead to delays or denial. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:
Pay close attention to the deadlines set by USCIS. Missing the application submission deadline or failing to respond to requests for additional information can result in your application being rejected.
Incomplete or Inaccurate Information
Ensure that you provide accurate and complete information on your application form. Double-check all details, including your personal information, dates, and addresses. Inaccurate or incomplete information may raise red flags and lead to a denial.
Failure to Submit Supporting Documents
Submitting the required supporting documents is crucial. Failure to include the necessary evidence of eligibility may result in your application being denied. Keep copies of all documents you submit for your records.
Lack of Legal Assistance
While it’s possible to complete the TPS application process on your own, seeking legal assistance from an immigration attorney can greatly improve your chances of success. An attorney can guide you through the process, help you gather the necessary documents, and ensure your application is error-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I work while my TPS application is pending?
Yes, once you have filed an initial TPS application, you may be eligible for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) while your application is pending. This document allows you to legally work in the United States during the TPS application process.
Can I travel outside the United States with TPS?
Generally, traveling outside the United States while under TPS is not recommended. Departing the country may result in the abandonment of your TPS application or loss of your TPS status. However, there are certain exceptions and travel permissions that you can explore with the guidance of an immigration attorney.
Can I apply for TPS if I have a criminal record?
Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from applying for TPS. However, certain criminal convictions may render you ineligible. It’s important to consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate your specific situation and determine your eligibility.
What happens if my TPS application is denied?
If your TPS application is denied, you may have the option to file an appeal or submit a motion to reopen or reconsider. It is crucial to seek legal advice promptly to explore your options and understand the bestcourse of action based on your circumstances.
Can I apply for TPS if I entered the US illegally?
Yes, you may still be eligible to apply for TPS even if you entered the United States illegally. TPS is available to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria, regardless of their entry status. It’s important to consult with an immigration attorney to understand the specific requirements and implications in your situation.
Applying for Temporary Protected Status can be a complex process, but with the right information and guidance, you can navigate it successfully. Remember to thoroughly research the eligibility criteria, gather all the necessary documents, and submit a complete and accurate application. Seeking legal assistance can significantly increase your chances of a positive outcome. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to applying for TPS and obtaining the temporary relief and work authorization you need.
If you believe you may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or need assistance with any immigration matter, contact the Law Office of Ghenadie Rusu today. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is ready to provide you with professional legal representation and guide you toward a successful outcome. Schedule a consultation to discuss your options and secure your immigration status with confidence.