Transitioning From Temporary Protection Status to Green Card
Murray & Silva, P.A. can help you transition from TPS to a green card. Call us for guidance.
What You Need to Know About Transitioning From Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Green Card
Many immigrants live and work in the U.S. through the Temporary Protected Status (TPS). As the name suggests, this status is not permanent, and a holder can lose their TPS protections as soon as their country is no longer eligible. However, a TPS holder can obtain lawful permanent residence if they qualify for an immigrant visa, otherwise known as a green card.
Understanding the legal processes and requirements for transitioning from TPS to a green card is essential, and this is what we will cover in this article. If you want personalized guidance and support applying for a green card as a TPS holder, consult our immigration law attorneys at Murray & Silva, P.A. We’ll guide you through the whole process, ensuring you fill in every detail accurately and present all required documents.
Understanding TPS: A Brief Overview
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program introduced and managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Currently, immigrants from countries designated as unsafe due to natural disasters, civil wars, or other temporary conflicts can be granted TPS to protect them from deportation from the U.S.
The following are the TPS designated countries by the DHS as of November 2023: Ukraine, Afghanistan, El Salvador, South Sudan, Burma, Cameroon, Haiti, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
With a temporary protected status, foreign-born immigrants can live and get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the U.S. temporarily.
Essentially, TPS holders don’t automatically obtain a lawful permanent resident status. When your TPS expires, or your home country is no longer TPS designated by the DHS, you will be required to leave the U.S.
To avoid getting deported if they lose their TPS protections, TPS holders must be eligible for a green card and adjust status.
How to Transition from TPS to Green Card?
To become a permanent resident of the U.S., a TPS holder must be eligible for at least one green card category. The most common green card categories are family-based, employment-based, and asylum.
Family Green Card
If you are a TPS holder, you can seek a family-based green card if you have a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder. In this case, your green card holder or citizen relative must sponsor your immigration by filing Form I-130 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Employment Green Card
If you hold TPS and are offered a job offer by a qualified U.S. employer, you may be eligible for an employment-based green card. Your U.S. employer must sponsor your immigration by filing Form I-140 with the USCIS.
Asylum Green Card
If you don’t qualify for family or employment-based adjustment of status, you may opt for asylum. If you qualify for asylum, you will be able to adjust status after one year of obtaining asylee status.
Green Card Eligibility Criteria
TPS holders must meet the following adjustment of status requirements:
- You must have continuously resided in the U.S.
- You must be physically in the U.S. at the time of application.
- You must have maintained legal immigration status and a current TPS
- You are eligible for a green card.
- You are not inadmissible into the U.S.
The Green Card Process and Requirements
The process you must follow to transition from TPS to a green card depends on your green card category.
Applying through a U.S. citizen spouse or parent
To apply for a green card as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with the USCIS. Note that form I-130 must be filled out by your U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
You may receive a biometrics appointment notice from the USCIS shortly after the receipt of your application. You may receive an interview appointment at a local USCIS office to answer a few questions about your application or provide additional supporting documents.
Once your application is approved, you will receive your green card by mail within a few weeks.
Applying through a lawful permanent resident relative or an employer
If you are applying for a family preference or an employment green card, the process starts with your sponsoring relative or employer completing and filing Form I-130 (family-based) or Form I-140 (Employment-based) with the USCIS.
After the sponsor’s petition is approved and a visa becomes available to you, you must file Form I-485. You will then follow the same process for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
If you receive a visa number after the termination of your country’s TPS designation, you may need to travel back to your home country and apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
When transitioning from temporary protected status to permanent residence, you and your sponsor will need to file forms I-130/I-140 and I-485 along with supporting documents.
Here are the most commonly required documents for each form:
- Form I-130
- Proof of relationship with you, the beneficiary of the petition. For a marriage-based green card, the sponsoring relative may need to attach a marriage certificate, photos, and joint account statements.
- Proof of permanent residency or U.S. citizenship, including green card, passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate.
- Form I-140
- A labor certification application form. It should be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- Your educational documents and qualifications
- Proof of the sponsor’s ability to pay you the DOL-approved wages until you obtain permanent residency
- Form I-485
- Your nationality proof, including your birth certificate and passport
- I-94 travel record and a valid U.S. visa to prove you entered the U.S. legally
- I-797 Notice of Action, such as the receipt or approval notice of Form I-130 or I-140
For Form I-130, your sponsoring relative will pay $535. However, Form I-140 costs $700. Moreover, the filing fee for Form I-485 varies between $750 and $1,225, depending on your age and application category.
Call Murray & Silva, P.A. Today
In our years of experience offering immigration services, we’ve become familiar with all the requirements and routes available for transitioning from TPS to lawful permanent residence. Our attorneys at Murray & Silva, P.A., can help you understand your legal options, determine your eligibility, and initiate the application process.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced immigration attorney.
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