On August 1, 2016, The Secretary of Homeland Security announced that Syria has been redesignated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation from Oct. 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018. This will allow eligible Syrian nationals, or persons who last habitually resided in Syria without nationality, to register or re-register for TPS.

What is TPS

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States.  Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

During the designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries:

  • Are not removable from the U.S.
  • Can obtain an employment authorization document
  • May be granted travel authorization
  • Cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of their immigration status in the U.S.

TPS does not prevent you from applying for nonimmigrant status, filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition, or applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible.

What TPS is Not

TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give you any other immigration status.

An application for TPS does not affect an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit.

It does not waive any other eligibility requirements for other immigration benefits.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for TPS, you must:

  • Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the country;
  • File during the open initial registration or re-registration period (or meet requirements for late filing);
  • Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country;
  • Have been continuously residing in the U.S. since the date specified for your country (except in some circumstances).

Some factors may affect your eligibility:

  • If you have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S.;
  • If you are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA § 212(a), including criminal and security-related grounds;
  • If you are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum, such as participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;
  • If you fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the U.S. requirements;
  • If you have not filed your registration in a timely manner.

If you or a family member have any questions about Syria’s TPS designation or would like assistance with filing your petition, please contact CAIR-OK’s Civil Rights Director for a referral or a consultation.