Immigration Through Refugee, Asylum, and TPS

There are situations where you may become eligible to immigrate to the U.S. based on the danger faced in your county. There are several laws which protect you from either remaining in the country in which you face danger or persecution or being deported back to a dangerous situation.


In countries where war, famine, civil and political unrest put people at risk of death or torture you can apply to the United States to become a refugee. A refugee is someone who is not in the U.S., who is of special humanitarian concern to the U.S. and is able to demonstrate they were persecuted or feared persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group and is otherwise admissible into the U.S. A refugee must receive a referral into the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for consideration as a refugee.

There are a limited number of visas available to refugees and the refugee must work with specific organizations in order to be granted a visa and entry into the U.S. A refugee may be eligible to petition for their spouse and unmarried children under 21 within two years of arriving in the U.S. Once a refugee has been admitted for a year, they must apply to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Five years after becoming an LPR, they may apply to become a U.S. Citizen through the Naturalization process.


Asylum may be granted to individuals who are in the U.S. who have suffered persecution or fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. If you are granted asylum you may petition to bring your spouse and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 to the United States. If you are granted asylum, you may apply to become a lawful permanent resident one year after being granted asylum and if you still meet the definition of asylee.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Nationals from some countries may be granted Temporary Protected Status when the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that it is unsafe for their nationals to return to their country because it is unsafe due to ongoing armed conflict (like civil war), environmental disasters (hurricanes or earthquakes) or epidemics or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. The Attorney General may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries who are already in the United States. Some individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

For a list of countries currently designated for TPS, you may check with USCIS. Since TPS is a temporary benefit, it does not lead to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status or any other immigration status. However, you may still be eligible to apply for nonimmigrant status, file and adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition or apply for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible.