On October 6, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued policy guidance clarifying whether temporary protected status (TPS) beneficiaries are eligible to adjust status under § 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). That section requires a noncitizen to have been inspected and admitted, or inspected and paroled, into the United States unless exempt from this requirement.

USCIS said that its updated guidance “reaffirms USCIS’ longstanding interpretation that an alien who enters the United States without having been inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled, and who is subsequently granted TPS, generally does not meet that requirement.”

The updated guidance also incorporates Matter of Z-R-Z-C-, which held that generally TPS beneficiaries who travel outside the United States with prior authorization under INA § 244(f)(3) retain the same status when they return to the United States that they had when they departed. “If they were not considered inspected and admitted, or inspected and paroled, before their departure, that will not change when they return,” USCIS said.

This updated policy guidance “clarifies that decisions in the Sixth and Ninth Circuits holding that TPS is an admission for INA § 245(a) purposes are limited to those jurisdictions. Outside of the Sixth and Ninth Circuits, Matter of H-G-G-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 617, 635 (AAO 2019), applies.”

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