By Michael Spychalski
Haitian nationals still have time to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The final date to register for first-time applicants is November 15, 2011. Applicants who were re-registering had to have their applications in by August 22, 2011.
The purpose of Temporary Protected Status is to provide a temporary status to persons who are already in the United States and who are from countries the United States has determined are unsafe to return to return to. A country can be designated for TPS if: 1) there is an ongoing armed conflict within the country that makes it unsafe for persons to return to the country, 2) a natural or environmental disaster has led to a substantial but temporary disruption of living conditions within a country, or 3) other extraordinary and temporary conditions prevent persons from returning to the country in safety. After a country is designated for TPS status, the United States will designate a time period in which persons from that country must register for TPS benefits and a termination date. The termination date is a date when TPS designation for the country will end. However, the United States may choose to extend a country’s TPS designation beyond the initial period if the government determines it is still unsafe for people to return to that country.
To be eligible for TPS, you must: 1) provide proof of your identity, 2) provide proof that you are a national of the TPS-designated country, 3) provide proof that you have been continuously living in the United States since the date of TPS designation, 4) register within the designated registration period (under limited circumstances, you may file an application for TPS after the registration period has ended), and 5) not be subject to certain security and criminal grounds that make you inadmissible (you may not be eligible for TPS if you have been convicted of certain crimes).
TPS does not lead to permanent residency or citizenship. Once the United States terminates a TPS designation for a country, TPS beneficiaries’ status returns to the status they had before being granted TPS. If you previously had unlawful status and did not obtain any lawful status during the period of TPS, you will return to unlawful status and be eligible for deportation when your TPS expires.