How to Obtain Your U.S. Residency / Green Card through TPS
September 7th, 2022
TPS holders may apply for Legal Permanent Residency (a Green card) in the United States via adjustment of status, now that they are eligible to receive a TPS travel permit (form I-512T),which allows them to lawfully re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. While TPS does not allow an individual to apply for residency based solely on this status, TPS holders who have lawfully entered the U.S. generally are able to qualify for residency based on a residency petition sponsored by a spouse, family member (parent, child over 21, or sibling) or an employer (read more about requirements for a marriage residency petition, family residency petition and employment residency petition).
While our office, and many immigration advocates, have read the immigration law to allow TPS holders to adjust status (receive a green card) in the U.S., the former president’s administration, some USCIS Officials and several federal court judges had been creating legal obstacles. Now, an act by the Biden/Harris Administration has removed those obstacles.
On July 1, 2022, USCIS clarified the eligibility of TPS Holders, by rescinding the 2020 AAO (Administrative Appeals Office) Decision, Matter of Z-R-Z-C-, which stated that entry by TPS Holders with a travel document (I-131, Advanced Parole) did not qualify as an “entry” necessary to apply for residency. Now, the new policy announced by USCIS states that TPS holders, who have been inspected by Immigration at a border inspection point and allowed to enter, may apply for residency in the U.S., so long as they have a qualifying petition.
TPS Travel Permit, Form I-512T
In addition, USCIS’ policy has created a new TPS travel permit, Form I-512T, a document intended to make it clear that the individual who used it to enter the U.S. is qualified to apply for legal permanent resident status.
For many TPS Holders who have never lawfully entered the U.S., travel with the TPS Travel Permit may allow them to finally apply for Legal Permanent Resident Status through spouses, family or employers, but only if they apply. It is critical that all TPS Holders focus their efforts on identifying a process, particularly through a family member or employer, which they can use to obtain Legal Permanent Resident status now.
Although not all TPS Holders will be able to apply for Adjustment of Status because of issues in their past, like a prior Order of Deportation / Removal, this travel permit may allow some of those individuals to process a petition for status as a Legal Permanent Resident, Form DS-260, at a U.S. Consulate without the risk of spending a long time outside the U.S.
For example, if someone has an Order of Deportation / Removal, and that order cannot be vacated, then they may be required to submit their application for residency at the U.S. Consulate in their country. After their Consulate residency interview, they will be required to file an I-212 (Deportation / Removal Waiver) and possibly an I-601 Waiver, which take approximately 12 months to be completed. Without a travel permit to return to the U.S., the person will have to wait in their country for those 12 months, but with a TPS Travel Permit, a person can return to the U.S. while they wait for their residency process to be completed. This is a significant advantage.
It is also important to know that every person traveling through an immigration port of entry is subject to a thorough inspection; and if they have a prior criminal case or other immigration issues, they could lose their TPS. For this reason, it is very important to consult an immigration lawyer to identify the best possible strategy for your case.
The following is a list of countries which are currently approved for Temporary Protected Status in the U.S.:
- Burma (Myanmar)
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
If you have TPS and would like to apply for a travel permit or for residency status, call our office and schedule a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys at 617-303-2600 or request the appointment online. Our immigration, personal injury and criminal defense lawyers in Boston, MA, have experience litigating complex cases and are highly recommended by our clients. Our attorneys will be happy to help you and you family with any legal matter related to personal injury, criminal defense or other immigration process.