Asylum offers protection to individuals already in the United States who fear persecution in their home country. In order to be eligible for asylum, the persecution feared must be from the government, or persons or organizations that the government is unable or unwilling to control. Additionally, the individual must be targeted for persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Generally, individuals must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, such as changed conditions in the individual’s home country or extraordinary circumstances that prevented the individual from applying for asylum earlier. An individual granted asylum may apply for permanent residency after one year.
To learn more about asylum read our blog post entitled "Atheism as a Basis for Asylum in the United States"
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries, who are already in the United States.
The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
1) Ongoing armed conflict;
2) An environmental disaster, or an epidemic; or
3) Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries are not removable from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) and may be granted travel authorization.
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States. However, TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.
To be eligible for TPS, you must:
1) Be a national of a country designated for TPS;
2) File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or meet 3) the requirements for late initial filing;
3) Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country; and
4) Have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country.
You may not be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:
1) Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
2) Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
3) Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;
4) Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
5) Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.
To learn more about asylum read our blog post entitled "Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone Designated for TPS"