Adjusting Your Temporary Protected Status: What You Need to Know

  • Aug 11 2017

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status granted to individuals who are visiting the United States during a period when their home country becomes unsafe to return, whether due to armed conflict, civil war, natural disaster or environmental disaster.

Individual immigrants are eligible to apply for TPS status when their country, or a region in their country, is placed on the TPS list by the Department of Homeland Security. Countries that are currently on the list include, but are not limited to: Angola, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

It is important to note that TPS is not available to those living in an affected country and cannot help them come to the U.S. It is only offered to immigrants who are already here for a certain period of time, whether legally or illegally. Once an immigrant is approved for TPS, he or she has a right to remain here for a designated period, usually between six and 18 months, and also has the right to work. However, a recent court ruling makes some TPS holders eligible to apply for green cards.

Can I adjust my Temporary Protected Status in California?
Although this is considered to be a temporary status, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Ramirez v. Brown that a TPS holder is considered to be inspected and admitted for purposes of adjustment of status law requirement of “admission.” This means that immigrants granted TPS are eligible to apply for green cards with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), provided that other requirements for adjusting their status are met.

In order to obtain a green card while on TPS, it is necessary for a foreign national to submit an application to adjust his or her status, pursuant to §245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This provision of the law requires a green card applicant to have been “admitted.” In Ramirez, the court determined that because a TPS holder goes through a vetting process and is in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she meets the criteria for being admitted under the INA.

The Takeaway
In sum, the Ninth Circuit’s decision permits TPS holders who are in states under Court’s jurisdiction which includes California, to adjust their status, regardless of whether they entered the U.S. illegally. Nonetheless, the application process is complicated, and other eligibility requirements apply. In the end, individuals seeking to obtain TPS or adjust their status should speak with an experienced immigration attorney.

Posted in: Immigration Law