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Immigration Law - Houston

Can I Apply for a Green Card if I Have TPS?

If you’re asking yourself, can I Apply for a Green Card if I Have TPS? You can apply for a green card if you have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and you have a separate basis to apply, but TPS by itself doesn’t give someone a pathway to apply for a green card. If you have TPS, your options for getting a green card depend on your situation. Since Donald Trump took office, his administration has announced that it is ending TPS for multiple countries. If you have TPS, you have reason to be worried – we don’t know what we can expect regarding the future of the TPS program. This means that if you have another avenue to apply for a green card – or any other legal status – it’s a good time to take a look at your options and see what you can do.

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What’s happening with TPS right now?

Over the last two years, the Trump administration has announced that it is ending Temporary Protected Status for citizens of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal and Sudan. In late 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a temporary order stopping the Department of Homeland Security from implementing and enforcing the termination of TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador. As long as this temporary order remains in effect, citizens of these four countries can maintain and renew their TPS. But the government has appealed the court’s decision, so depending on what happens next, this could change.

What can I do if I have TPS?

We don’t know if TPS will be renewed for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Sudan, Nepal, or any other currently designated countries. If you have TPS right now and are worried about what might happen if the program ends, it’s a good time to understand your options. 

Filing for a green card based on a family relationship

You may be able to file for a green card based on a petition by a family member. Depending on your relationship (spouse, parent, son/daughter, sibling), wait times for this type of case can go from 1 year to decades.

Wait time isn’t the only factor to consider – depending on your immigration history and any criminal record or arrests in your past, you may have to take extra steps in the application process, or you may not be eligible to get your green card through a relative petition at all.

Filing for a green card based on employment

If you have TPS, it may be possible to apply for your green card based on employment. Whether this is an option for you will depend on specific information about you, including when and how you first entered the United States, how many times you have entered and exited the country and when you entered and departed, and how old you were when you first received TPS. If you have TPS and your employer is interested in filing for you, it is important to go over your specific information with an immigration attorney to be sure that you qualify before you and your employer take steps to try to apply for a green card on the basis of your employment.

Options for Victims of Domestic Abuse, Crime and Trafficking

If you have TPS and want to file for a green card, it’s important to understand that there are options for victims of domestic violence or abuse, crime or trafficking.

  • Victims of Domestic Abuse and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). If you have TPS and are also the victim of a crime, it’s important to understand your options. If you have been assaulted or harmed by a partner, spouse, son or daughter, or parent, this is may be considered domestic violence, and you may be eligible to apply for immigration status under the Violence Against Women Act.
  • U Visa for Victims of Crime. If you are the victim of domestic violence or other crimes including kidnapping/abduction, blackmail, extortion, false imprisonment, assault, forced labor, obstruction of justice, perjury, stalking, torture, witness tampering, it’s important to report the crime to local law enforcement. If you have been the victim of a crime and have assisted law enforcement by reporting it or cooperating with an investigation, you may be eligible for a U visa for victims of crimes. 
  • T Visa for Victims of Labor or Sex Trafficking. It’s important to be sure you understand what “trafficking” means in immigration law and how it may apply to you.  In immigration law, “Trafficking” can happen in the labor/employment context or can involve commercial sex acts – sexual acts on account of which a thing of value is given or received by someone. We often see individuals who are undocumented or are afraid of being arrested by ICE working for employers for less pay than they are promised originally and who work extensive hours without overtime pay or in poor conditions. We also sometimes see people who are in abusive relationships who are forced to perform sexual acts with their abuser or others. Please read our blog on options for victims of crime and trafficking to learn more.

How Can I Find Out If I Can Apply for a Greencard While I Have TPS?

Immigration law is a highly technical field, and small details can make a huge difference in your eligibility for a green card, it’s important to talk to an experienced immigration lawyer to understand your options. Gather your documents, get ready to talk about your immigration history, travel history, and any arrests, charges, pleas and convictions, and talk to an experienced immigration lawyer to see if you can apply for a green card or have other options.

Houston Lawyer for TPS and DACA

At Karam Immigration Law, we work with individuals, families, and companies to help people who are beneficiaries of DACA, TPS, and other special immigration programs. We handle complex cases and challenging immigration matters and work to find creative solutions to help our clients obtain and renew work authorization or legal status. If you are looking for a Houston Lawyer for TPS and DACA help, click the orange button below to schedule a consultation with us. 

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