Can TPS Recipients Apply for Adjustment of Status?

In order to pursue adjustment of status and become a lawful permanent resident (LPR), an applicant must in addition to meeting other requirements have been properly “inspected and admitted or paroled” into the United Sates. Otherwise, the applicant cannot apply for Green Card inside the U.S.

A TPS recipient have lawful status in the U.S. given the TPS designation but oftentimes they obtained TPS after having unlawfully entered the U.S. The key question is then do these individuals satisfy the requirement of having been “inspected and admitted or paroled” into the United states? Courts are divided on this issue.

In general, TPS recipients residing in the Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits can pursue adjustment of status, even if they entered the United States without inspection. But outside those circuits, TPS recipients who entered the United States without inspection are generally barred from adjustment of status because they are not considered “inspected and admitted or paroled” (unless they obtained authorization to travel abroad and return to the United States before August 20, 2020).

Those who do not qualify for adjustment of status should explore other options including becoming a beneficiary of an immigration petition and seek waiver via I-601 or I-601a if necessary. Looking ahead into the future, there are positive news. The U.S. Citizenship Act, commonly known as the “Biden Immigration Plan”, includes a provision that would grant LPR status to TPS receipts who meet certain requirements.

Below is a detailed overview from the Congressional Research Service.