Syria was designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on March 23, 2012. This means that those who apply for and are granted TPS will be allowed to remain in the United States for 18 months (and possibly longer if TPS is extended). They will also be allowed to apply for work cards so that they can lawfully work while in the United States.
USCIS expects to announce next week additional details about the designation of Syria for temporary protected status. These details will include specific information on who qualifies for temporary protected status and how to apply. If you are a Syrian in the United States, or know someone who is, you should discuss your situation with an immigration lawyer to determine if temporary protected status is a good choice for you.
You should not submit your application for TPS until after the details are announced next week.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
TPS provides a temporary legal immigration status to nationals of the country that is designated for temporary protected status. People who are granted TPS are eligible to remain in the United States and can obtain work authorization for as long as they meet the requirements for TPS.
TPS has some very specific requirements that are different than those for many other immigration programs. For example, any two misdemeanor convictions may make you ineligible for temporary protected status. If you have TPS or are considering applying for TPS and have had any arrests (even if your record was expunged or if you participated in a diversion program) or are arrested, you should consult with an immigration lawyer to understand what consequences the charges may have on your TPS status or TPS application.
Although TPS does not lead to permanent resident status, it may provide a safe refuge for those who cannot return to their home country of Syria because of the current situation in Syria. When TPS for Syria is terminated, you will return to the same immigration status that you had when you were granted TPS (unless that status has expired). However, if you become eligible for another immigration status while you have TPS, you may be able to change to that status. What options are available to you will depend on the specific details of your situation and you should discuss your options with an immigration lawyer before you make any decisions about your case.