USCIS’s New Policy Memo on TPS
September 8, 2020
On August 31, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Policy Memorandum regarding TPS and authorized travel using a valid DHS-issued travel document (Advance Parole).
According to the USCIS’s new policy memo on TPS, TPS beneficiaries who travel abroad using an Advance Parole issued based on their TPS status generally will retain the same immigration status on their return that they had at the time of departure. This travel does not satisfy the “inspected and admitted or paroled” eligibility requirement for obtaining adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
The new policy memo will only apply prospectively to TPS recipients who departed and returned to the United States on or after August 20, 2020.
Let’s take an example to illustrate the effect of this new policy memo on TPS.
Amber is a foreign national of Honduras. She entered the United States on January 1, 2019 for the first time without inspection. On June 1, 2019, she was granted TPS for 18 months. Later, she obtained an Advance Parole based on her TPS. The Advance Parole is valid through November 30, 2020. She traveled abroad on August 21, 2020 and re-entered the United States with the Advance Parole on September 1, 2020. Amber’s husband is a U.S. citizen.
Without the new policy memo, as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, Amber is eligible to apply for marriage-based green card through adjustment of status inside the U.S. because her entry to the U.S. on September 1, 2020 was considered as “inspected and admitted or paroled”.
Under the new policy memo, Amber is not eligible to adjust status to green card inside the United States because her entry to the U.S. on September 1, 2020 was not considered as “inspected and admitted or paroled”.
Nevertheless, Amber’s unlawful presence in the U.S. is less than 180 days (from January 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019), therefore she should be able to obtain a green card by consular processing. However, through consular processing, she must leave the U.S. and apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate.
What is TPS?
TPS is an abbreviation of Temporary Protected Status. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS if conditions in the country meet statutory requirements regarding ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters (including epidemics), or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely.
USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of a designated country, and eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country and are already in the United States. Individuals who are granted TPS can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD), not removable from the United States and may be granted travel authorization (Advance Parole).
Countries Currently Designated for TPS