How to Apply for Temporary Protected Status under Arizona Immigration Law
TPS helps aspiring immigrants remain in the U.S. without worrying about deportation while also receiving permission to travel (advance parole) and an employment authorization document (EAD). An experienced Arizona immigration attorney can help unlock your path to safety through TPS.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for TPS in Arizona?
First, you must be a citizen or national of an eligible country. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will periodically announce new designations and extensions of previously-granted TPS status on the website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). An “initial registration period” to apply for temporary protected status will generally run from the designation date. Thereafter, DHS may redesignate the country for which foreign nationals can “re-register” for TPS. Examples of present TPS-designated nations include:
- South Cameroon
Countries may gain designation because of an ongoing war, environmental disaster, or “other extraordinary temporary conditions” making it dangerous. Once granted TPS, recipients may no longer be detained by immigration officials because their removal has been suspended. You can renew your TPS status and continue receiving your EAD so long as the U.S. continues redesignating your country as TPS-eligible.
What Benefits Can I Obtain From Temporary Protected Status in Arizona?
Although immigrants may use this temporary status to apply for subsequent non-immigrant visas, TPS differs from other petitions in not providing a direct pathway to adjustment of status. That is, to “legal permanent resident” (LPR) status. On the other hand, if a person with TPS status later marries a United States citizen, that citizen can file an immigrant family petition (Form I-130) for her foreign-born spouse. Thus, TPS remains temporary until the holder becomes eligible to emigrate using another method. However, EAD and advance parole are valuable benefits that come with TPS. An application for temporary protected status lawyer in Arizona can ensure you complete the correct paperwork and derive all these benefits.
What are Common TPS Requirements?
Foreign nationals must have continuously resided in the United States for the time specified for that country. Using El Salvador as an example, applicants must show continuous residence since March 9, 2001. The TPS designation date is often the same as the start of the “initial” registration period to apply for TPS. For example, the requirements for Honduras are:
- Continuous residence in the U.S. since December 30, 1998
- Continuous physical presence in the U.S. since January 5, 1999
- Re-registration to continue TPS status during the following periods:
- May 16, 2016 through July 15, 2016
- December 15, 2017 through February 13, 2018
- June 5, 2018 through August 6, 2018
Alternatively, if you miss these periods, you can complete Form I-821 and attach a letter explaining why you are filing late. USCIS will grant the late re-registration for “good cause.” Although the law does not define what constitutes “good cause,” an experienced Forth Worth, AZ immigration lawyer will know.
What Forms and Evidence Do I Need?
Each immigration benefit is filed on a different form but some forms may be filed together. USCIS has designated the following forms to file online or mail to the proper lockbox facility:
- Form I-821 TPS
- Form I-765 EAD
- Form I-131 Travel Document
- Form I-601 Waiver if necessary
- Form I-912 Fee waiver if needed
In addition to the applications, you must also submit the proper filing fees for each form–preferably its most current edition–and submit supporting evidence of your:
- Identification and nationality in the country of origin (passport, birth certificate)
- Date of entry into the U.S. (I-94 Record of Admission)
- Proper filing fee for application and biometrics (fingerprint scan)
- Continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S., such as:
- Rent, bills
- Baptismal certificates
- School or medical records
- Affidavits from church or other organizations
Not every applicant will have all these documents at hand. But you will be asked to collect both “primary” forms of evidence, such as national photo IDs or passports or, if unavailable, “secondary” documents like attestations from friends, families, or neighbors that remember:
- When and where you were born (if a birth certificate is unavailable) or
- When you started living in the U.S. (if documents for early years are lacking)
Be sure to sign and date your application where instructed and include the correct fee. If at any time you move while USCIS processes your TPS application, you must fill out another form (AR-11) notifying USCIS. Finally, if you mail your application, use certified mail with a return receipt. A skilled Arizona TPS law firm can help you properly complete the correct forms and send them to the correct address.
Automatic TPS EAD Extensions
After the pandemic, USCIS experienced unusually long wait times for TPS EADs. Thus, it had to automatically extend EADs without actually issuing new cards. USCIS documents the extension on the bottom of Form I-797 Notice of Action approving your TPS or EAD application or proof of fee receipt. Most delayed I-797s will show automatic extensions of TPS EADs until June 30, 2024. You can also prove automatic extensions to employers by referring them to the Federal Register Notice. However, delayed TPS reregistration may cause gaps in your EAD.
What Happens After I File for TPS in Arizona
Once you have completed all the forms and included the filing fees, USCIS will send you proof of receipt on Form I-797 Notice of Action. This does not mean your application has been approved yet. Instead, the approval notice will be sent on the same form (I-797) but say “Approval Notice” rather than “Fee Received.” While your case is pending, USCIS will accept the following inquiries:
- Attorneys can call (800) 375-5283
- Check your case status online
- Have your attorney make an info pass appointment
You will also need biometrics or fingerprints taken at an Application Support Center (ASC). USCIS maintains ASCs in different regions near you. However, if you have previously lived in another state and USCIS does not have proof that you moved, you may be scheduled in the previous state. In addition, when reporting to an ASC, you must bring the following documents:
- Government-issued photo identification
- Form I-797 TPS receipt notice (not approval)
- ASC biometrics notice containing address and time
- Current EAD if available
You must reschedule an appointment if you cannot make it. The ASC phone number and address will be listed on the form. Tell the operator you have an unavoidable conflict. If you need to travel outside the U.S. in an emergency, use Form I-131 Application for Advance Parole. USCIS has ASCs abroad, usually near a U.S. consulate, or in your country of origin.
If this is not the first time you have appeared at the ASC, USCIS may be able to reuse your previous fingerprints. This saves time because you do not need to show up for the appointment but must still pay the $85 biometrics fee.
USCIS Decision on Temporary Protected Status
Upon initial inspection, once USCIS determines you are TPS eligible, the agency will grant you an EAD before your TPS application is approved. USCIS can do one of four things with your Form I-821 Application for TPS:
- Reject it and return the form and fee
- Request more evidence or RFE
- Issue a notice of intent to deny (NOID)
- Approve or deny the TPS application
If you filed something incorrectly or did not spell “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (no abbreviations) on the check for the filing fee, USCIS will return the entire packet. This may be a sign to consult a more experienced Arizona immigration lawyer for help. You should likewise work closely with your attorney to submit additional evidence if you get an RFE or respond to a NOID. Getting help from the start may save you from needless mistakes and delays.
Late Initial Filing for Temporary Protected Status
Each country designated as TPS eligible has an “initial registration period” following the designation. DHS may subsequently re-designate the same country for which there is a different registration period (“re-registration”). If you are just finding out about TPS and otherwise meet the criteria for your country, you may be able to “late file” for TPS. USCIS allows it. To qualify for late initial filing, you must show that either:
- During initial or subsequent registration periods, you meet one of the following conditions within 60 days after one of these conditions terminates:
- Nonimmigrant visa, grant of voluntary departure or other relief from removal
- Pending relief from removal or while appealing an order of removal
- Parole status or pending re-parole into the U.S.
- Spouse of someone currently eligible for TPS
- During either initial registration or later re-registration, you were a child (unmarried, under 21) of someone eligible for TPS. This has no time limitation:
- For example, if your parent now has TPS and you were a child during your mother’s initial registration period for her country, you can still apply for TPS “late” even if you are now over 21 or married
However, unlike other immigration applications, TPS does not convey “derivative” status from parent to child. Even when the parent has TPS, children must submit their own TPS applications. They must also file to extend their separate TPS status if DHS re-designates the country. Like initial registration periods, there is also a designated period for TPS extensions. But unlike late initial registration, late re-registration can delay your EAD. The AZ application for TPS law firm of Diamondback Legal can help.
What Happens If Temporary Protected Status Is Denied in Arizona?
USCIS denials may be appealed to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office. However, you only have 30 days to submit the appeal (Form I-290B). Alternatively, you may file a motion to reconsider with the Service Center that denied your application. If you are detained and placed in removal proceedings, USCIS loses the authority to decide your petition. Now, it will be up to the immigration judge (IJ) to decide whether to grant TPS. If the IJ denies you TPS, you can appeal the ruling. Consult an accredited immigration representative before filing an appeal.
Contact an Application for Temporary Status Attorney in Arizona Today
Even if you do not qualify for TPS, you may have other immigration options available. But because immigration law is complex and confusing, one small error can have serious implications on further avenues to emigrate. As such, call (602) 584-8938 to schedule a free consultation with a legal professional in Arizona today.