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Vigil held in front of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC on Dec 10

Vigil held in front of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC on Dec 10

 

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Here are Frequently Asked Questions on TPS

Important Warning: As of this writing, TPS is not yet in effect.  Should the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announce TPS, it may impose certain conditions not included here.  The information below is based on provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), instructions contained in the TPS application form, case law, and some scholarly writings.  This is for information purposes only and not intended to be relied upon until DHS specifically announces TPS for the Philippines.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

TPS is a humanitarian form of relief, where the U.S. provides a temporary safe haven for foreign nationals who cannot temporarily return to their country because of armed conflict, calamity, environmental disaster or an extraordinary and temporary condition.

When will we know when it will take effect?

TPS will take effect only after the DHS Secretary has announced TPS designation for the Philippines.  It will take effect on the date indicated on the announcement, after it is published in the Federal Register.

Who can benefit from TPS?

Qualified nationals of a foreign country granted TPS designation that are presently in the U.S. may apply for TPS.

Are TPS applicants protected from deportation?

A person granted TPS may not be deported during the TPS period (pursuant to INA Section 244(a)(1)(A)).

Those who are presently in removal proceedings may request the proceedings to be administratively closed (not terminated) pursuant to INA Section 244(a)(3).

Further, those who are granted TPS may not be detained on the basis of their status pursuant to INA Section 244(d)(4).

What can people do while waiting for an announcement from the U.S. government?  Once announced, when is it possible to file TPS applications?

People can help persuade the U.S. government to designate the Philippines for TPS by calling the Department of Homeland Security at 202-282-8495 and theWhite House at 202-456-1111. The more the decisionmakers hear from Filipino nationals as well as non-Filipino supporters from various sectors, the more they will feel the urgency and significance of TPS designation as a way for Filipinos in the U.S. to help in the recovery process through money remittances earned from legitimate employment.  Let DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, DHS Deputy Director Alejandro Mayorkas, and President Obama know that you support TPS!

Who may qualify for TPS?  Who is ineligible for TPS?

Any Filipino national or a stateless person whose habitual residence is the Philippines, who meets the requirements and does not have any of the disqualifications listed below, may apply for TPS.

Certain criminal convictions and certain national security issues could make someone ineligible but if you have any of these issues you should seek consultation because you may still be eligible.

What are the requirements for TPS? [1]What documents should I start gathering?

A TPS applicant is required to:

(a)   Establish identity and nationality

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your birth certificate, accompanied by photo identification
  • Any national identity document bearing your photograph or fingerprint (or both) issued by your country, including such documents issued by your country’s Embassy or Consulate in the United States. Such as a national ID card or naturalization certificate

(b) Submit proof of residence in the U.S. in accordance with the terms of the TPS designation (since the date of the TPS designation)

1. Continues Presence in the U.S starting on the date that will be announced by Dept. of Homeland Security

  • Employment Records
  • Rent receipts, utility bills, receipts or letters from companies
  • School records from the schools that you or your children have attended in the U.S.
  • Hospital or medial records concerning treatment or hospitalization of you or your children
  • Attestations by church, union or other organization officials who know you and where you have been residing

(c) Register within the period provided by the DHS Secretary.

Further, the applicant must not: (a) have a conviction for a felony or two or more misdemeanors, and (b) be firmly resettled in a third country.

Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. The translator must certify that:

  • He/she is competent both in English and the foreign language used in the original document; and
  • The translation is true and correct to the best of his or her ability, knowledge and belief.

What are the TPS filing fees?  Is fee waiver available and who would qualify for a fee waiver?

The fees during the initial registration period are as follows:

Applicant’s Age                       Requesting Employment                      No Employment

Authorization                                      Authorization

 

Below 14                                                    $50                                                      $50

14 – 65                                                       $515                                                    $135

66 and older                                             $135                                                    $135

 

Fee waiver is available to an applicant who submits an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, describing his or her source of income (including means-tested benefits and other financial support), expenses, number of dependents, general conditions and other reasons for inability to pay the fees.

 

How can I protect myself from fraud?

Do not go to unqualified immigration consultants. There will be may non-profit organizations providing low-cost or no cost processing once TPS is granted. Visit TPS4Filipinos.org for a list of local organizations.

Can I file the TPS application on my own? Do I need legal counsel before applying for TPS? Can the government ask for additional requirements prior to a final decision on the TPS application?

Yes, you may opt to file your own TPS application.  However, there may be legal issues that are not apparent to a non-practitioner.  Thus, consulting with an authorized professional can be in the TPS applicant’s best interest.

Although TPS request was made for all “eligible Filipinos” residing in the US, each application will be examined and approved on a case-by-case basis. In the process of deciding a TPS application, the government may have additional requests or questions requiring a response with a specified deadline – referred to as Request for Evidence (RFE).

How long does it take for employment authorization to be issued?  

Expect employment authorization within 90 days from date of filing and biometrics.

What can one expect to get when a TPS application is successfully granted?

A person granted TPS is generally considered to be in a lawful status, according to case law.

The applicant will receive an employment card that is valid for the duration of the TPS.  If the TPS period is extended, one may re-register for TPS and apply for employment authorization.

It is also possible for the applicant to travel abroad by applying for advance parole.  However, a person granted TPS may still be subject to the 3-year or 10-year bar  (thereby, being unable to re-enter the U.S.) that is triggered when one departs the U.S. after overstaying for more than 180 days.

Can one avail of another type of immigration benefit while on TPS?

Yes, it is possible to avail of another immigration benefit during the TPS period when there is a legal basis and no impediment exists.

 

If you need help, please contact the following local organizations:

  • Damayan        http://www.damayanmigrants.org/
  • New York Legal Assistance Group     http://nylag.org/
  • CARECEN       http://www.carecen-la.org/

 


[1] http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/temporary-protected-status