Some Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders will once again be able to overcome inadmissibility for adjustment of status purposes by traveling internationally because USCIS is updating its interpretation of MTINA, the Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendment of 1991.
As of July 1, 2022:
- USCIS will no longer use the advance parole mechanism to authorize travel for TPS purposes.
- Instead, USCIS will provide a new TPS travel authorization document (Form I-512T, Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen to the United States) that will serve as evidence of the prior consent for travel and as evidence that the bearer may be “inspected and admitted” back into the United States in TPS pursuant to MTINA, if all other requirements are met.
Shortly after the TPS program was created in 1990, the legacy INS specified that permission to travel in TPS would be issued by advance parole. With MTINA, Congress indicated that TPS holders who returned to the United States using advance parole would be “admitted in the same immigration status the alien had at the time of departure ….” Based upon this, those who were paroled after authorized travel often met the requirement of being paroled or inspected and admitted for adjustment of status purposes. This meant that some TPS holders who had entered the United States illegally or who entered legally but subsequently fell out of status were able to overcome that impediment to obtaining a green card through adjustment of status by traveling abroad and returning on advance parole. This interpretation remained in effect until 2020, when USCIS adopted the decision in Matter of Z-R-Z-C, which reversed that interpretation for anyone who traveled abroad after the 2020 adoption.
USCIS has been persuaded that the “old” pre-Matter of Z-R-Z-C interpretation more accurately expresses the legislative intent of MTINA. In other words, those TPS holders who return to the United States after pre-approved travel will have met the “lawful admission” requirements for purposes of immigration benefits.
What does this mean?
- In general, barring criminal histories, TPS beneficiaries who previously traveled on TPS advance parole prior to the recission of Matter of Z-R-Z-C would be considered to be “inspected and admitted” for adjustment of status purposes, but USCIS will conduct a case-by-case analysis.
- TPS beneficiaries who travel post-recission of Matter of Z-R-Z-C with advance permission (even those who would otherwise be subject to the three and ten year bars) absent criminal histories, will also be considered “inspected and admitted” for adjustment of status purposes.
- But TPS beneficiaries with potential removal orders or who were detained by immigration at any point or who appeared before an immigration judge should confer with an immigration attorney before applying for adjustment of status even if they travel or traveled with advance permission and returned to the United States because they may still be subject to admissibility bars.
- Finally, any TPS beneficiary who entered the United States legally, but then overstayed or worked illegally for less than 180 days and who is applying for adjustment of status based upon an approved employment-based immigration visa petition is considered admissible and can adjust status in the United States without doing any additional travel – barring criminal histories.
Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist TPS beneficiaries with strategies regarding the new complicated USCIS guidance.