April 2, 2012
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have made temporary protected status (TPS) available to Syrian nationals effective March 29, 2012. This means that Syrians, who were in the United States as of March 29, 2012, are eligible to stay in the United States for eighteen months and can receive a work authorization document allowing them to work in the US through September 30, 2013. Attorneys from the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates will make themselves available to all persons who have questions regarding this form of humanitarian relief.Time Frames and Deadlines for TPS
Persons who wish to obtain TPS must apply between March 29, 2012 and September 25, 2012. If an application for TPS is not received by the September 25 deadline, the application will be rejected by the USCIS.Entry Date and Physical Presence Requirements for TPS
Only those Syrians who entered the United States on or before March 29, 2012 are eligible for TPS. Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate continuous physical presence in the United States after entry to remain eligible for TPS. The USCIS has stated that short and incidental exits from the United States will not break the physical presence requirement. This is in recognition that the violence and turmoil in Syria may necessitate short periods of travel in and out of the US to attend to matters pertaining to the protection of persons and property. It is highly recommended that applicants for TPS obtain an advance parole document before traveling outside of the US in order to notify the USCIS of the applicant’s intent and need for travel.Visa Status Requirements for TPS
TPS is available for all Syrians regardless of visa status. TPS is supplementary to whatever visa status a person holds at the time of filing for TPS and Syrians are encouraged to maintain their alternate visa status while at the same time applying for TPS. Even people who have overstayed previous visas or who have entered without inspection are eligible for TPS. Immigration status violations are not a bar to receiving TPS. It is recommended that applicants consult with an attorney regarding the effects of TPS on a currently held visa status or lack of visa status prior to applying.
TPS is a temporary visa status and at the end of the TPS designation period, TPS holders will revert back to whatever visa status they possessed prior to TPS. Therefore it is highly recommended that TPS applicants maintain their underlying visa status if at all possible while on TPS.
The designation for Syrian TPS is intended as a humanitarian relief for Syrian nationals. However, persons who do not possess a nationality, and who last habitually resided in Syria may apply.Who is not Eligible for TPS
Extensive security and background checks are conducted on all applicants for TPS. Persons who have a criminal background or who present a threat to national security will not be granted TPS. Again, if you have questions regarding an issue that may arise in a background check of your case, please consult an attorney.How to Contact Us
If you have questions about TPS, an immigration visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call the law firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, the law firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.