Both Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and asylum are designed to help those fleeing unsafe situations in their countries. Those who apply for either relief program must be fleeing their country of nationality because the environment makes it unsafe for them. Both reliefs can also protect you from removal while your petition is pending, and with either TPS or asylum, you can also receive work authorization and obtain a travel permit (although travel while seeking asylum is generally discouraged). However, while the two relief programs share many similarities, they are different.
The Difference Between Temporary Protected Status & Asylum
The primary difference between TPS and asylum is that TPS is not individualized but asylum is. While asylum considers an individual’s circumstances and proof that an individual was persecuted (based on their religion, race, nationality, political opinions, sexuality, or membership in a particular social group), TPS is granted to countries by the government.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS): A Brief Overview
The Department of Homeland security (DHS) makes designations concerning what countries are protected under and eligible for TPS. Countries designated for TPS are typically undergoing armed conflicts, hazardous environmental conditions, epidemics, or other unsafe conditions that threaten nationals.
If you are a national of a designated country, you can apply for TPS to live and work in the U.S. for a temporary period, and during that time, you will be safe from detention (based on your immigration status) and deportation. As mentioned, you can also receive travel and employment authorization when you apply for TPS.
Recently, both Ukraine and Cameroon were designated for TPS by Secretary Mayorkas. Other countries designated in TPS include:
- South Sudan
- El Salvador
- Burma (Myanmar)
To apply for TPS, an applicant will need to prove that you are a nation from a designated country and file within the initial or re-registration periods. You will also need to prove both your continuous physical presence in the U.S. (since your country’s most recent designation) and your continuous residence in the U.S. You can review the eligibility requirements (as you can be disqualified because of felony convictions, security reasons, etc.) as well the dates concerning your country on the USCIS website.
What is Asylum?
Asylum provides recipients with permanent protection from the discrimination or unsafe conditions that made them flee their homeland. Recipients of this relief must prove that they underwent persecution in their home country or are afraid of persecution based on the five grounds for asylum. To apply for asylum, you should submit an “Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal,” within a year of your arrival in the United. States.
The application for asylum is more detailed than the TPS application, and it can be harder to collect the evidence to establish the need for asylum. Also, those who apply for TPS can submit a work authorization form (Form I-765) along with their original application. If you apply for relief via an asylum application, you cannot apply for employment authorization until your asylum application has been approved or 365 days have passed since you submitted your application.
Which One Should You Apply for: TPS or Asylum?
If you are eligible for both TPS and asylum, you can apply for and hold the status for each. Applying for TPS should be your priority since you can obtain this designation while completing your application for asylum or another form of a visa; although TPS is a temporary status (and asylum provides permanent protection), you can also more easily obtain work authorization. When applying for either relief program, you should consult with an attorney who can advise you of your best options.
Get Legal Help
At Hubbs Law Firm, our attorneys have nearly 30 years of collective experience. Whether you need assistance with changing your immigration status or are in danger of deportation, we are here to help. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients navigate a host of immigration matters, including (but not limited to):
- Immigration bond hearings
- Permanent residency
- Immigration visas
- Removal and deportation defense
- Naturalization and citizenship
If you have questions related to immigration or need help with applying for TPS or asylum, contact our firm by completing this online form or telephoning (305) 570-4802. Se habla español.