When a country is struck by a natural disaster or overcome by a violent war, parts of it may no longer be safe to live in. To help provide refuge for those affected by such conditions, the Secretary of Homeland Security may decide to give temporary protected status to citizens of certain countries.
In this post, we will provide basic information about temporary protected status, what it means if you qualify, and how to go about seeking it.
What conditions can result in temporary protected status?
There are a few different conditions that can result in citizens of certain countries being given temporary protected status in the U.S. They included war or other natural disasters, epidemics, war or other armed conflict, and others severe conditions that are temporary. In these cases, temporary protected status may be given to nationals of the countries affected by these conditions as well as non-nationals who last lived in the affected countries.
What protections does temporary status provide?
If you are granted temporary protected status, you cannot be deported from the U.S. Although you will not receive lawful permanent resident status, you can seek authorization to work while you are in the U.S.
Which countries have temporary protected status?
If you are from one of the following countries, you can seek temporary protected status in the U.S.:
- El Salvador
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
If I'm from one of these countries, am I automatically eligible?
Each country has an effective date of temporary protected status designation. To qualify, you must have been present in the U.S. since the most recent date of designation given to your country. You can find the dates of designation on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
You cannot stay in the U.S. on temporary protected status if you have a felony conviction or two or more misdemeanor convictions on your record. You will also be ineligible if you do not file at the right time or meet criteria for a late filing.
How to apply for temporary protected status
In order to apply, you must complete an application for temporary protected status as well as an application for employment authorization. Additionally, you must provide evidence of when you entered the U.S., that you are a national of a country with temporary protected status and that you have continuously lived in the U.S. since the designation date for your country.
Seeking help with your application
Applying for temporary protected status is not always an easy process. There are numerous documents to submit and many have deadlines. Missing a deadline can put your well-being at risk.
Additionally, after President Trump's recent executive order temporarily barring entry to people from certain countries, it is very important to talk to a lawyer before you file for temporary protected status. Speaking to an attorney can help ensure you do not accidentally expose yourself to unfavorable treatment, such as deportation.
If you think you qualify for temporary protected status, an attorney can help you determine if you qualify, assist you in completing all application forms and help you collect the evidence you need to support your application - all within designated deadlines. Your attorney can also help you stay safe throughout the process.