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Understanding Temporary Protected Status

With the increase in violence in the world, most notably in Ukraine and Sudan, the mechanics of the program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are worth revisiting.

An overview of the TPS program

The TPS program was created by Congress in 1990 as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. The program permits the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate countries that are undergoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.

The program provides a work permit and stay of deportation to foreign nationals from any of the designated TPS countries who are in the United States at the time that the Secretary makes the designation.

Approximately 354,625 TPS eligible individuals are living in the United States, and an additional 274,820 individuals may be eligible for TPS under five additional designations announced by the Biden Administration since February 16, 2022.

The reasons for designating a country as eligible for TPS

The most common reason for a TPS designation is the existence of an armed conflict that poses a serious threat to the personal safety of any returning nationals. Two recent examples are the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the civil war in Sudan.

Eligibility for TPS

An individual can obtain a TPS designation if he or she is a national of a country that has received a TPS designation. The person must also have physically lived in the United States since the effective date of the designation. The individual cannot be inadmissible to the United States for certain criminal or national security-related reasons.

Duration of TPS designation

A TPS designation can be made for 6, 12 or 18 months. The Secretary may extend a designation if the order for extension is issued at least 60 days before the expiration of the current TPS designation. Decisions to begin, extend or end a TPS designation must be published in the Federal Register.

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