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Can a TPS holder who traveled on parole before USCIS’s 2022 policy change still qualify for adjustment of status?

By October 12, 2022Immigration
An airplane and compass

In a previous blog post we discussed recent policy changes by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, “USCIS” that has potentially reopened the possibility of beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status, “TPS” to again qualify for a green card based on applying for travel authorization and reentry into the United States. A discussion of TPS can be found here.

This new policy centered around USCIS’s new interpretation of rules where they concluded that a TPS beneficiary who travels with proper travel authorization is considered an alien that is admitted and inspected into the United States potentially qualifying for a green card petition by an immediate relative for adjustment of status. A discussion regarding eligibility for adjustment of status can be found here.

The new policy made it clear that TPS beneficiaries applying for new travel authorization would be considered aliens that are inspected and admitted into the United States. What was less clear, was whether travel under travel authorization granted as advanced parole when it was obtained, and travel completed before the policy change in 2022 would still allow TPS beneficiaries who traveled before the policy change to still be considered inspected and admitted into the United States to qualify for adjustment of status. A discussion about the new USCIS policy can be found here.

Retroactive Application of the New Policy in effect after July 1, 2022

For travel that occurred before the policy change under advanced parole authorization to be considered travel to have resulted in an inspection and admission, the following requirements must be met:

  • The noncitizen obtained prior authorization to travel abroad temporarily on the basis of being a TPS beneficiary.
  • TPS status was not withdrawn, or the designation for their country was not terminated or did not expire during the travel.
  • The noncitizen returned to the United States in accordance with the authorization to travel.
  • The noncitizen was inspected by immigration officials at a designated port of entry and paroled or otherwise permitted to pass into the United States under TPS based travel authorization.

What if one of these requirements were not met during the time the travel was made?

If that were the case, then USCIS is to apply the policy that was in effect at the time of departure.

  • From December 12, 1991, until February 25, 2016, No formal agency policy, but noncitizens were generally considered paroled for purposes of Adjustment of Status.
  • From February 25, 2016 until August 20, 2020, noncitizens were considered paroled for purposes of Adjustment of Status.
  • After August 20, 2020 until July 1, 2022, noncitizens were not considered as admitted or paroled for adjustment of status.
  • On or after July 1, 2022, most recent policy where noncitizen is considered to have been admitted for adjustment of status.

For adjustment applicants who meet the retroactivity requirements, we will discuss additional criteria USCIS will consider confirm retroactive application of the new policy is appropriate on an individual case.

It is important to consult with one of our attorneys in order to determine whether your case will qualify for adjustment of status based on this new policy.

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