Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) is a tool that allows the U.S. to protect citizens of certain countries that are unsafe and unable to handle the return of their citizens.
However, this tool is only available to those in the U.S. at the time of their country’s TPS designation and who meet other criteria. And sometimes these designations change over time.
From our team of New Orleans-based immigration attorneys at Pelton + Balducci, here are some updates regarding TPS designation for Central American citizens.
What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for?
The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can designate a country for TPS on account of man-made or natural disasters.
Some of these include:
- Ongoing armed conflict in the protected country: This is one possible reason for a country to be designated for TPS, as the conflict poses a significant threat to people returning. For this reason, Ukraine was designated for TPS on April 19, 2022.
- Natural disasters: If there is a significant natural disaster that damages infrastructure or otherwise creates hazardous conditions where the country cannot handle returning citizens, this is another reason a country may be designated for TPS. As an example, Haiti was initially designated for Temporary Protected Status after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
- Extraordinary Circumstances: This is a broad category that can include a lot of potential reasons, or which can be used to justify granting Temporary Protected Status for a combination of reasons.
Generally, TPS may be sought by individuals residing in the U.S. at the time that the government makes the TPS designation. Individuals residing in the U.S. after the designation will be ineligible for TPS.
With very few exceptions, individuals must register during the initial registration period; otherwise, they will be ineligible for TPS, even if they meet the residency requirements.
What Countries Are Designated for TPS?
The countries currently designated for TPS include:
- Burma (Myanmar)
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
What about the 2017 and 2018 terminations of TPS designations for certain Central American countries?
On June 21, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the cancellation of the 2017 and 2018 terminations of the TPS designations for El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua – as well as Nepal.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), DHS will extend the designations of:
- El Salvador for 18 months, from Sept. 10, 2023, through March 9, 2025 (60-day re-registration period from July 12, 2023, through Sept. 10, 2023);
- Honduras for 18 months, from Jan. 6, 2024, through July 5, 2025 (60-day re-registration period from Nov. 6, 2023, through Jan. 5, 2024); and
- Nicaragua for 18 months, from Jan. 6, 2024, through July 5, 2025 (60-day re-registration period from Nov. 6, 2023, through Jan. 5, 2024)
(The TPS designation for Nepal will also be extended 18 months, from Dec. 25, 2023, through June 24, 2025.)
Contact Pelton + Balducci Today
Not sure what these designations mean for you and your family? Our experienced Louisiana immigration attorneys are here to help. We believe everyone deserves to live their American dream, and we can help you fight for yours. Contact us today to get started.