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Travelling With TPS


(Traveling with Temporary Protected Status)

Cameroonian TPS Holders Can Use Their TPS Status To Travel Out Of The United States.

USCIS announced a new travel policy, and corresponding travel authorization document, for individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that went into effect on July 1, 2022.1 Previously, individuals with TPS sought travel permission through advance parole. While individuals with pending initial applications for TPS may still seek advance parole, those with approved TPS status are no longer granted “advance parole” to travel.2 Instead, individuals with TPS request a unique form of travel authorization that upon return to the United States results in them being “admitted” (back) into TPS, rather than “paroled.”

Traveling with TPS: Authorized Travel for Any Reason

Under the Biden administration, the travel authorization for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients has been redefined as “authorized travel for TPS recipients,” previously known as “advance parole.” While TPS recipients still submit the same advance parole form to apply, the updated policy offers greater flexibility. TPS holders can now travel abroad for any reason—whether it be tourism, visiting family, or any other personal purpose—without needing to provide evidence for employment, humanitarian, or educational reasons as required by other programs, such as DACA. This change provides a significant and welcome benefit for TPS recipients, making international travel more accessible and less restrictive.

I Have TPS: How Can I Apply for a Travel Document to Return to the U.S.?

If you’re a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holder planning to travel abroad and return to the U.S., you’ll need to obtain approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) first. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process.

Applying for a Travel Document

To apply for permission to re-enter the U.S. after traveling, you must complete and file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. Upon approval, you’ll receive Form I-512T, Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen to the United States, previously known as “Advance Parole.” This document allows you to travel abroad and return to the U.S. within the authorized period, often permitting multiple reentries. However, note that you can only stay outside the U.S. for a total of 90 days.

For detailed instructions on completing the form, see Filling Out Form I-131 for Advance Parole.

What are the benefits of obtaining travel authorization as a TPS holder?

The most obvious benefit is that you may be able to travel outside of the country for compelling reasons like family or health emergencies.

From Entry Without Inspection To Legal Entry

Another benefit is “Legal Entry.” If you are approved to travel and receive an Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen document, upon your return, you will have, what is called, “legal entry.” This is especially beneficial if you previously entered the U.S. without permission when you first arrived in the U.S. Legal entry can help with adjustment of status or when applying for other forms of immigration relief. 

Can TPS Holders Travel on an I-512T to Aid in Adjusting Status?

Yes, TPS holders who travel and return with an I-512T document can use their lawful entry as a basis for applying for a green card through adjustment of status. For instance, if you previously entered the U.S. unlawfully but later married a U.S. citizen, your return from abroad with an I-512T can be considered a lawful entry. This can make you eligible to apply for permanent residence without having to leave the U.S. to apply through a consulate, thus avoiding possible bars to return.

Risks of Traveling with TPS

Traveling outside the U.S. with TPS involves certain risks. Here are some critical points to consider:

If you have TPS but haven’t obtained a travel document from USCIS, do not leave the United States. Traveling without the proper documents can result in the loss of your TPS designation, making it difficult or impossible to return to the U.S. immediately.

Even with a travel document, you must return to the U.S. within the authorized period indicated on your I-512T document. Failing to return on time can lead to denial of entry and potential abandonment of your TPS status due to a failure to maintain continuous residence in the U.S.

Ensure you don’t miss important deadlines related to your TPS grant while abroad. If it’s time to renew your TPS status or if your TPS is nearing expiration, it’s wise to handle these updates before traveling. Missing deadlines or critical information from USCIS during your time outside the U.S. can negatively impact your status and any other pending immigration applications, such as those for asylum or permanent residence.

If you have TPS–and even in some cases when your initial TPS application is still pending–you may apply for an Authorization to Travel document from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

What if I have a pending initial application for TPS, Can I apply to travel?

Individuals with pending initial applications for TPS can also apply for travel permission, but through a slightly different process called Advance Parole. Individuals granted Advance Parole will be issued a Form I-512L. For more information on Advance Parole, click here.

This is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Given the complexities and risks associated with traveling as a TPS holder, it’s crucial to consult with a qualified immigration attorney before making travel plans. Each individual’s situation is unique, and professional legal advice can help you navigate the intricacies of your specific case, ensuring that your rights and status are protected.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, reach out to an immigration attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your circumstances.