U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a Policy Memorandum adopting the Administrative Appeals Office on Temporary Protective Status holders who travel outside the United States.
The decision holds that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries who travel abroad using a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-issued travel document generally will retain the same immigration status on their return that they had at the time of departure. Exceptions apply to aliens inadmissible under certain criminal or national security grounds or with immigrant or nonimmigrant visas they present for admission to the United States.
This travel does not satisfy the “inspected and admitted or paroled” eligibility requirement for obtaining adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence. This is consistent with the agency’s previous clarification that a TPS beneficiary’s authorized travel does not execute a final order of removal.
“Temporary Protected Status is by its very nature temporary,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow. “It should not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or citizenship. Misinterpretation and inconsistent application of this law has previously allowed those pathways for alien TPS beneficiaries. This was a mistaken distortion of what Congress intended when creating this temporary program.”
This decision does not affect TPS beneficiaries who adjusted status to lawful permanent residence under past practice and/or prior guidance or who have pending applications for adjustment of status.
The decision takes effect from August 20, 2020. Therefore, any TPS beneficiary who traveled outside the United States before August 20, will not benefit, and may need to speak to an Attorney for any adjustments or appeals.