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In a previous article, I wrote about the possibility of Filipinos obtaining Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as a result of the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda.

TPS is available for people who are already in the US, but conditions in their home country (such as armed conflict, hurricanes, earthquakes, or typhoons), make it difficult for them to return safely. If a particular country is designated for TPS, then citizens of that country could receive work authorization, temporary relief from deportation/removal, and possible authorization to travel to their home country. However, at the present time, the Philippines has not yet been designated for TPS. Typically, in order to start the TPS process, the Philippine government must make the request to the US government. The good news is that recently, the Philippine government did just that: requested TPS. The request to designate the Philippines under Temporary Protected Status was officially conveyed on Friday, December 13, by Philippine Amb. José L. Cuisia, Jr. to the Department of Homeland Security. According to Philippines Foreign Affairs Sec., Albert F. Del Rosario, if the request is granted, the Philippines will join four other countries that were placed under TPS after going through similar natural catastrophes, including El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras. At present, the US government is evaluating the TPS request, which may take some time. We will continue to keep you updated on the developments. If TPS is granted, a person cannot be removed\deported\detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the US.

To be eligible for TPS status the person, * Must be a national/citizen of a country designated for TPS

* Must register for TPS status during the initial registration period. (As noted above, the Philippines has not yet been designated for TPS, so there's nothing to register for now.) * Must demonstrate that he or she has been "continuously physically present" in the US since the effective date of the TPS designation. So, make sure you save documentation demonstrating that you have been in the US.

* Must not have been convicted of any felonies or two or more misdemeanors, and is not "inadmissible" on certain other immigration grounds.

* While TPS itself does not lead to lawful permanent resident status, a person can also apply for adjustment of status or other immigration benefit, if eligible for that benefit. Once again, I want to emphasize that the Philippines has not yet been designated for TPS, so there is nothing to apply for now. However if the Philippines should receive TPS designation, and you believe you are eligible, I would advise that you seek the advice of an attorney, who can evaluate your situation, including if you are eligible, and handle the preparation and submission of the forms and application.

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 30 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has always excelled in school: Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California. WEBSITE: www.gurfinkel.com Follow us on Facebook.com/GurfinkelLaw and Twitter @GurfinkelLaw TOLL FREE NUMBER: 1-866-GURFINKEL (1-866-487-3465) Four offices to serve you: LOS ANGELES ¥ SAN FRANCISCO ¥ NEW YORK ¥ PHILIPPINES (This is for informational purposes only, and reflects the firm's opinions and views on general issues. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of a particular case. All immigration services are provided by an active member of the State Bar of California and/or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. No prediction, warranty or guarantee can be made about the results of any case. Should you need or want legal advice, you should consult with and retain counsel of your own choice.)

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