People in the US with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) now have a path to apply for green cards. Under the Trump administration, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had halted a critical process that allowed many foreign nationals to apply for permanent residency. However, the agency has reinstated this process, once more allowing TPS holders to pursue their green cards.
If you have TPS, don’t wait to start the application process. USCIS is currently working through a significant backlog of applicants, but it can still take months or years for applicants to complete the process. Permanent residency offers many benefits over temporary protected status. The sooner you apply for a green card, the sooner you can make the most of them. Here’s why it’s worthwhile to pursue your green card and how you can apply for permanent residency if you have TPS.
Differences Between TPS and Green Card Status
While both TPS and permanent residency allows you to remain in the US without a visa, they have some significant differences. A green card is always better if you want to stay in the US long-term. Three critical differences make a green card more appealing to most immigrants:
- Permanency: TPS is a temporary immigration status that only lasts as long as the recipient’s home country is designated unsafe by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Once that designation changes, TPS holders must leave the US. Meanwhile, green cards are permanent, and holders can remain in the US forever.
- Rights: Both permanent residency and TPS protects you from being deported or detained by the Department of Homeland Security for your immigration status. In addition, permanent residency allows you to petition for your relatives and pursue full citizenship.
- Convenience: TPS recipients must regularly reapply for the status to rightfully remain in the US. Once you receive your green card, though, you can stay in the US forever without having to reapply unless you leave the country for more than a year.
Basically, temporary protected status is just that: temporary. A green card is more permanent, grants you more rights, and is significantly less stressful once you have successfully received it.
How to Apply for a Green Card with TPS Status
Applying for a green card takes time, effort, and attention to detail. Here’s what the application process looks like if you have TPS.
Confirm Whether You Have Lawful Entry Status
Many TPS recipients did not receive the necessary entry inspection when they entered the country. They may have entered the country illegally or through a temporary visa that did not require inspection. Without this inspection, you are not eligible to apply for residency or green cards.
This is what the USCIS memorandum addresses. You can now enter and return to the US to receive the necessary inspection, making you eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Determine Grounds for Eligibility
After undergoing the necessary inspection, you still need to meet the other eligibility criteria for a green card. You will need to prove that you are:
- Married to a US citizen or permanent resident, living or deceased
- The parent of a US citizen or permanent resident over the age of 21
- Sponsored by a US employer
If you fit one of these categories, you can apply for residency with the help of the person or organization that connects you to the US.
File Sponsorship and Application Forms
Your spouse, child, or employer will submit a sponsorship form, also known as an immigrant petition. This form demonstrates that you are connected to the country and eligible for your green card. Once this sponsorship is accepted and there is an available visa, you will need to file your application for a green card with USCIS.
Attend a Biometrics Appointment
You’ll need to attend a biometrics appointment if your application is not rejected. At this appointment, you will provide your fingerprints, signature, and photo for USCIS to keep on record. This information will be connected to your record to prevent fraud.
Receive an Interview
Finally, you will attend an interview individually and with your sponsor. This interview confirms that you are honest about your relationships and reasons for immigrating to the US. If your interview is successful, you’ll be awarded permanent resident status.
Work with Litwin & Smith to Apply for Your Green Card
The new USCIS memorandum has made it possible for many TPS recipients to pursue permanent residency for the first time in years. If you want to stay in the US without worrying about your TPS being revoked, now is the time to apply for permanent resident status. You can work with the expert immigration attorneys at Litwin & Smith to streamline the application process. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can simplify the immigration process and help you stay in the US for good.