If you are the child of a person covered under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, you may be eligible for late initial registration if you were under 21 and unmarried during the initial registration period of the country of origin.
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has recently issued a decision on the ruled that the categorization of "child" for purposes of qualifying for TPS is only required at the time of their parents' initial TPS registration period, not at the time of filing or approval of their application.
This decision has the potential to benefit many people who previously did not qualify for TPS because of their age. Now, if you are over 21 and have not yet registered for TPS, you may be eligible for late initial registration if one of your parents has TPS and qualifies.
Of the Latin American countries, this change favors people from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
In addition to being the child of an alien covered under TPS, the following requirements must be met to apply for late initial registration:
Be a citizen of El Salvador, Honduras or Nicaragua (or a foreigner without nationality whose last residence was one of these countries).
- If Salvadoran, have lived in the United States continuously since February 13, 2001 and have been physically present in the country since March 9, 2001.
- If Honduran or Nicaraguan, have lived in the United States continuously since December 30, 1998 and have been physically present in the country since January 5, 1999.
- Not having been found guilty of two misdemeanors or one felony.
- Not having committed acts that make the person inadmissible to the country.
You should be aware that these are the initial enrollment periods for each country:
El Salvador: March 9, 2001 to September 9, 2002
Honduras and Nicaragua: January 5, 1999 to August 20, 1999
For example, if you are Salvadoran and were 20 years old in April 2001, you are now eligible for TPS late initial registration, as long as you meet all the requirements.
Unlike a TPS re-registration, a late initial registration has certain complications, so it is important to consult with an immigration attorney.
Keep in mind that TPS does not lead to permanent residency in the United States. When the program ends (and this is up to the U.S. government), people revert to the same immigration status they had before TPS - that is, if they were not here legally, they will go back to being undocumented.
So please consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate your immigration situation as soon as possible and see if there is any other recourse to obtain permanent residency.