USCIS Introduces New Pathway for TPS Holders to Travel and Seek Permanent Residency

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | Aug 04, 2023 | 0 Comments

On July 1, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a groundbreaking Policy Memorandum that opens a new pathway for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries to travel outside the United States and potentially qualify for lawful permanent residency. 
This article is a response to inconsistencies in TPS protocols and aims to address the challenges faced by TPS holders and their families. In this article, we explore the key highlights of the new policy, its implications for TPS beneficiaries, and the potential impact on employers.  
Understanding TPS and the Need for a New Policy: 
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was established by Congress in 1990 to provide protection to eligible noncitizens from designated foreign countries facing ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or "extraordinary and temporary conditions." Countries eligible for TPS include Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Cameroon, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen. TPS offers protection from deportation, work authorization, and the ability to apply for advance permission to travel abroad and be readmitted to the U.S.  
The Problematic Legacy of Matter of Z-R-Z-C-: Over the years, TPS beneficiaries faced inconsistent treatment regarding their international travel. The USCIS and the courts had differing interpretations, leading to uncertainty for TPS holders. In 2020, the USCIS adopted Matter of Z-R-Z-C-, which deemed returning TPS beneficiaries as not having been lawfully "admitted" to the U.S., creating barriers for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency.  
The July 1 Policy Memorandum Rescinds Matter of Z-R-Z-C-: To address these issues, USCIS rescinded Matter of Z-R-Z-C- and introduced a new process for TPS holders to seek travel authorization. Now, TPS beneficiaries can request a "TPS Travel Authorization" using the newly created Form I-512T. Those who previously received advance parole can still use that document for travel and will be considered as having been inspected and admitted upon return.  
Implications for TPS Holders: The new policy presents an important opportunity for TPS holders to travel internationally and have the assurance of readmission. By obtaining the TPS Travel Authorization, TPS beneficiaries may potentially become eligible to qualify for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency, commonly known as a "green card."  In order to take this benefit, you have entered into the U.S. using the TPS based advance parole on or after July 1st 2022. 
Impact on Employers: Employers with a substantial workforce comprising TPS holders should anticipate an increase in requests for vacation or leave. The new policy may also lead to more TPS holders seeking employment-based sponsorship for permanent residency. Employers may choose to support their TPS workforce by providing assistance to connect them with competent immigration counsel to explore sponsorship opportunities.  
Conclusion: The USCIS Policy Memorandum issued on July 1, 2022, marks a significant step towards streamlining TPS protocols and offering new opportunities for TPS beneficiaries. With the rescission of Matter of Z-R-Z-C-, TPS holders can now travel outside the U.S. with the assurance of readmission and potentially pursue lawful permanent residency. Employers should be prepared to support their TPS workforce through this transition and consider the potential impact on their I-9 compliance and immigration-related practices. As this new policy unfolds, TPS holders and employers alike should stay informed about further developments in immigration regulations and policies. Please do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C. at 212 571 6002 or send email to [email protected] to explore your options from TPS to Green Card. 

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