I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what to tell my TPS clients about what’s going on in the news. If you’ve been following, you’ve probably heard something about the expiration of TPS, or Temporary Protected Status. And if you know someone from Central America — El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti — you’re probably feeling anxious and confused. Our law firm helps quite a few people from these countries, and so we want to provide some useful information and tips on the topic.
The first thing to know, of course, is the current expiration dates for TPS.
El Salvador – TPS extended through March 9, 2018 (and may be extended again)
Honduras – TPS extended through July 5, 2018 (and may be extended again)
Nicaragua – TPS extended through January 5, 2019 (will not be extended again)
If you have TPS, you’ll seen that for several years now, these expiration dates have been repeatedly extended.
What’s new for Hondurans and Nicaraguans?
On November 6, 2017, the government decided to terminate TPS for Nicaragua, but is giving Nicaraguan TPS-holders 12 months — until January 5, 2019 to leave.
As for Hondurans, the government hasn’t made a decision about whether it would permanently terminate TPS. So it temporarily extended status till July 5, 2018.
What to expect for El Salvadorans?
On January 8, 2018, the government is required to let us know whether it will extend TPS past July 5, 2018.
What you can do NOW.
- The best defense is a good offense. If you have any questions about the options below, call us at 214-272-8523. Or send an email to my legal assistant Sindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out if you qualify for permanent status. Even if you entered the United States illegally, there are several ways you can qualify for a green card. First, through a family member. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Are you married to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident? Has someone else ever filed a green card petition for you? Has someone ever filed a petition for your parents, even a long, long time ago? Has someone ever filed a petition for your ex-spouse a long, long time ago? You’d be surprised at the possibilities. Are you married to, or recently divorced from, an abusive citizen or resident?Talk to us about VAWA.
- Find out if you qualify for some other form of temporary status. For example, have you been the victim of a crime? You may qualify for a U Visa. Even if a lot of time has elapsed since the incident. We have helped many people to get U Visas, even when they were victimized over 20 years ago.
- Get a travel permit (AKA “advance parole”) and use it (in some cases). Using a travel permit to enter the US legally is a way of wiping the slate clean for immigration purposes. And this could help you to qualify for a family-based green card in the future. So even if you don’t have a family member to petition for you at this very moment, it could be a wise idea to get a travel permit and return to the US legally. But be careful about traveling: Be careful about traveling abroad, especially if you have criminal history. And be sure that your TPS has not lapsed. Often this is the case for people who are convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors. Also, if you plan to apply for asylum (see below), you’ll also want to be very careful about traveling abroad. Asylum is a benefit granted to people who are in danger in their home countries. So how will it look to the government if you voluntarily go back to your home country and at the same time claim that you’re afraid to go back?
- Consider the possibility of requesting asylum. There are many types of asylum – for people who fear persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The most common reason people don’t qualify for asylum is that they have missed the one-year deadline. (You’re required to apply within one year of arriving in the U.S.) But there are exceptions to this rule. And the fact that you are or were in valid TPS status all this time may excuse a late filing.
Call Us For Help
If you have any questions you can reach us at 214-272-8523. For the rest of the month we’re offering free consultations. To learn more about us, you can visit our website at www.vpatellaw.com.