USCIS Once Again Allows Temporary Protected Status Holders to Overcome Their Inadmissibility Through Travel

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made a critical update that, as of July 1, 2022, allows some Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders to overcome inadmissibility issues and become eligible for adjustment of status by traveling internationally.  

Under the Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendment of 1991 (MTINA), TPS beneficiaries who traveled internationally and returned on “advance parole” were considered to be “admitted in the same immigration status” they had at the time of departure. Advance parole allows certain non-U.S. citizens—e.g., an individual applying to register as a permanent resident or adjust their immigration status—to return to the United States without first applying for a visa. As a result, TPS beneficiaries were able to reenter the United States after authorized travel and were often able to meet the requirement of being “paroled” or “inspected” and admitted to the country for purposes of adjustment of status. This step was critical for many TPS beneficiaries, as it provided an avenue to permanent residency.

Many TPS beneficiaries who had previously entered the United States illegally or who had entered legally but subsequently fell out of status were able to overcome their inadmissibility to obtaining a green card through adjustment of status by traveling abroad and returning on advance parole to satisfy requirements for admittance to the United States. This policy remained in effect until USCIS adopted the decision in Matter of Z-R-Z-C in August 2020. After Matter of Z-R-Z-C, USCIS no longer accepted international travel and reentry on advance parole as sufficient to overcome previous inadmissibility issues.

After recent reconsideration, USCIS has decided to return to its prior policy and has updated its interpretation of MTINA to now once again allow TPS holders who return to the United States after pre-approved travel to be considered as having met the admission requirements for purposes of immigration benefits.

In support of the updated interpretation of MTINA, USCIS has stated that it will issue a new travel authorization document to TPS beneficiaries, Form I-512T Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen to the United States, which will be used in place of Form I-512 for Advance Parole. TPS beneficiaries with existing, unexpired Advance Parole documents may continue to use their card for international travel through the printed validity period. TPS beneficiaries applying for a new travel document should continue to use Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

Use of the new travel document 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, if all other requirements are met. It is important to note that all TPS holders should independently evaluate their eligibility to travel internationally using advance parole and should consult immigration counsel prior to departing the United States.  With this critical update, employers may now be able to retain TPS talent without the constant monitoring of status verification, if the employees obtain a green card. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.