On Mar. 29, 2012, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano designated the Syrian Arab Republic for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. The designation has important immigration implications for all residents of Syria presently in the United States.
The new designation has sent Syrian nationals flocking to attorneys that speak Arabic. Under Citizenship and Immigration Services standards, TPS means many Syrians may now remain in the U.S.
What Is Temporary Protected Status, and Who May Apply For It?
A TPS designation may be based on armed conflict, natural disaster, epidemic or other temporary conditions that makes it unsafe for residents to return to a given country. TPS beneficiaries may not be removed from the United States, are eligible to obtain employment authorization documents and may be granted travel authorization.
Syrian nationals (as well as individuals without nationality who last resided in Syria) who have resided in the U.S. since the March 29 announcement may apply for TPS. Approval is contingent on passing a thorough security check and meeting other eligibility requirements.
TPS Application Process Includes Extensive Evidence Gathering
A variety of forms and fees are required as part of the TPS application process. In addition, applicants must submit evidence of:
• Identity and nationality — for instance, a copy of your passport, copies of immigration documents or affidavits from family and friends
• Date of entry — documentation that shows when you entered the United States
• Continuously residing — employment records, bills, medical records or anything else that proves you have remained in the U.S. since March 29
Syrians Approved For TPS Can Remain In U.S. A Year or Longer
TPS is a temporary benefit. Under current guidelines Syrians granted TPS will be allowed to remain the country until Sept. 30, 2013. However, TPS registration does not prevent you from applying for any other immigration benefit for which you may be eligible, and individuals are often able to adjust their visa status to stay in the U.S. beyond the last day of TPS eligibility.
Watch the Time Limits, and Contact an Attorney Who Speaks Your Language
There is a limited amount of time for Syrians to file for TPS: all applications must be in by Sept. 25, 2012. If you are a Syrian national and wish to remain in the U.S., letting the deadline slip by could be a grievous mistake. Contact an immigration law firm today for help in filing a timely, successful TPS application — and if English is not your native language, take particular care to get in touch with attorneys that speak Arabic so you can have a complete understanding of your case.