On March 23, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced the intent to designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status or TPS for eighteen months. TPS is a special program that allows citizens of certain countries to remain in the United States. A country is designated for TPS when conditions in that country make it such that it would be difficult for people to return home. For example, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Haiti was designated for TPS because the damage the earthquake caused to the infrastructure in Haiti made it very difficult for Haitians to return home. Syria was designated for TPS in acknowledgement of the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Temporary Protected Status for Syrians is effective as of March 29, 2012 and will remain in effect until September 30, 2013. Those who wish to apply for the program have 180 days in which to apply, which means that their applications must be filed between March 29, 2012 and September 25, 2012.
It is important to make sure that you meet all of the requirements for the program before you submit your application for TPS. Those who are granted Temporary Protected Status will be able to remain in the United States for the next 18 months and will be able to obtain work authorization cards so that they can lawfully work while they are in the United States. If Temporary Protected Status is extended then those granted Temporary Protected Status may be able to remain in the United States longer.
The requirements for Temporary Protected Status include:
- Must have continually resided and been continually present in the United States since March 29, 2012
- Must pass a security check
- Those with criminal records may not be eligible for the program and should check with an immigration lawyer before they apply
- Other requirements may exist — if you aren’t sure if you qualify, you should check with your immigration lawyer before you submit your application
Other key information about the program includes:
- People granted TPS are not removable/deportable from the United States while they have TPS
- People granted TPS can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD or work card)
- People granted TPS may be able to obtain travel authorization
- TPS does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or a green card
- TPS does not prevent a person from applying for another nonimmigrant status, filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition or applying for other immigration benefits