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 F1 and TPS dilemma.. Points to remember before applying.
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Posted on 07-17-15 4:08 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Hi, I recently visited the USCIS office. I was having multiple dilemmas regarding whether to file for TPS or not, and finally decided NOT TO FILE. It would be best if I can give some info that may be applicable to your cases or partly. TPS has become a common dialogue these days. :D 

 Please be sure to read the disclaimer at the end of this post before you read below. If you proceed beyond this line, that means you have accepted and agreed to the terms in disclaimer.

 My situation: 
1. Valid I-20 upto 2017 & valid VISA 
 2. Have on campus job 

 Reason why I had wanted to file for TPS
1. Though, I am not benefitted by current TPS duration, but I if I don't file now, I will not be allowed to file later too when it gets renewed. Only current TPS holder will be permitted to renew (except for countries where there is an ongoing armed conflict or serious humanitarian crisis). I do not need TPS as such now, but expecting it to be renewed (like any other country). 

2. If it gets renewed, I can re-apply (since I have applied) and that would be near my graduation time (2017). So I will be having an TPS EAD handy and can start working immediately after I graduate. I do not have to worry about when to start my OPT date, or when the OPT-EAD comes in hand etc. What if I get employment offer well before my OPT-EAD date starts? So I guess having a TPS EAD would relieve me from such aches in future. 

Reasons why I did not file for TPS

1. I am making multiple trips to Nepal in future and cannot risk of deportation at POE, or risk having advance parole denied.

 Dilemmas that I had before for TPS:

1. F1 and TPS dual status: Once you apply for TPS and gets approved, TPS will override your F1 status. ie. you are no longer a F1 student. However, if TPS ends and you still have valid I-20 (ie. I-20 which Duration of validity is beyond Dec 21, 2016) you will be able to get back your F1 status provided that you have maintained it during TPS period. If your I-20 validity is shorter than Dec 21, 2016 that means even though you have taken full time courses, you will not return to F1. You may have to re-apply for F1 (within or outside country). In this case, your DSO cannot help to automatically extend your I-20 from his/her office when you approach near I-20 expiry date as you are in TPS, and F1 is in dormant state. (This case is discussed below in this post).

 2. EAD dilemma: Although I have valid I-20 upto 2017 and have an oncampus job and do not want to work outside, should I apply for EAD ($360 extra??) The answer is YES. Since your TPS is approved, though you take full time courses now you cannot claim F1 (until TPS ends). You are in TPS. Working oncampus or offcampus will require EAD. If your DSO finds that you are in TPS status without EAD, they will relieve you from work until you get an EAD. Thats a min. 3 month nail biting wait, and NO PAY during those months. :( You may not loose your oncampus appointment simply because you are in TPS and not in F1. TPS with EAD should not be the problem for continuing your current appointment.

 3. Traveling back to Nepal for a short trip: a definite NO-NO until there is a family emergency (death, sick etc..). TPS is granted because of earthquake and citizens cannot safely return or the country cannot provide the safe environment. So, if you want to travel for family vacation, the whole notion of granting TPS to Nepal remains VOID. You have to apply for advance parole (even though you still have a previous valid VISA in your passport), and provide solid reason of travel. A non-emergency or non-humanitarian one will be rejected- loss of $360. You may be allowed to travel countries other than Nepal ex. canada, mexico etc. If you apply advance parole for Canada, and travel to Nepal the immigration officer at POE will confirm your advance parole document. You may be denied entry as you did not mention that you were traveling to Nepal and now have come from a "SAFE" country. Better be back to Nepal, looks like situation has improved.. :'(... lol 

4. Marriage: If you are planning for marriage in Nepal during your TPS duration, you may not sponsor your spouse. If you had not changed to TPS, of course as F2 you could. So, there's a long wait to get him/her here until you change your TPS status to H1 or green card. If you plan to graduate during TPS status, inviting your parents for grad ceremony can also be a tough job. 


 1. Apply for TPS if you don't want to travel back to Nepal anytime soon, and have I-20 coverage beyond TPS duration. In case TPS does not extend, still being a full time student you get reverted to F1. 

 2. If your are in OPT period, just graduated etc., you should go for TPS. No further comments. 

3. If you are graduating in 2017 or beyond, no plans for Nepal visit or marriage etc., take your chances that TPS gets extended. It will be great for you during the next extension period. Well, you might have to gamble around $600 now. But I say, its worth it! 

4. If you are in TPS, got into good company you can apply for H1 or employer based green card petition. TPS will allow you to apply for non-immigrant visa, adjustment of status etc... For H1, you need to get selected too, like any other. No preference that you were in TPS. 

5. If you have valid visa, and want to travel out of country (for personal reasons) frequently, better drop the application or the plan.

6. If you apply for TPS and you I-20 expires while on TPS. TPS does not get extended, then you have to work with DSO to make an application to USCIS for re-instating to F1 or may be travel and get F1 visa. But read this, you were F1, went to TPS (technically to make money since they are giving you an EAD, even though you did not had that intention) an now want to pursue F1? Man, There are multiple holes in your case. Its a good idea to go for H1 or green card rather than retaking the F1 route. Think about this seriously.

7. If you want to outwit the system by traveling now while on F1 and applying after (before Dec 21, 2015 deadline), then you do not meet the continuous physical presence requirement. You may have continuous residence. Hence, you DO NOT qualify for TPS.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or authorized to give any legal advice to anyone regarding their application. Every application is unique. You have read this post on your own and you will verify the posted contents authenticity by consulting with immigration attorneys, USCIS officers etc. who can give you best advice on your case before you decide to pursue anything. The author will not be responsible for any damages, misunderstanding, errors or sufferings as a result of this post. Eventually, you are the one who pursues or can only decide what's best for you.

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Posted on 07-17-15 4:45 PM     [Snapshot: 56]     Reply [Subscribe]
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If TPS gets renewed, you will not be able to apply the 2nd time if you were not regestured the first time .
Posted on 07-17-15 5:16 PM     [Snapshot: 160]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Thanks @itroll. I re-arranged my post not to create any confusion.
Posted on 07-18-15 12:03 AM     [Snapshot: 358]     Reply [Subscribe]
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"If TPS ends and you still have valid I-20 (ie. I-20 which Duration of validity is beyond Dec 21, 2016) you will be able to get back your F1 status provided that you have maintained it during TPS period."
Q. How do you maintain F1 status by working off-campus and more than 40 hours a week? Is taking full time credits enough to maintain F1 status? What are the requirements of F1 provided you already have TPS?
Posted on 07-18-15 12:34 AM     [Snapshot: 378]     Reply [Subscribe]
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If you are eligible now, you can still apply new TPS during renewal period if you didnt apply now !!
Posted on 07-18-15 1:43 AM     [Snapshot: 397]     Reply [Subscribe]
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If TPS overrides f1 status, then from that analogy TPS also overrides h1, B1, J1 or any other status. Is that right?

From my understanding TPS doesn't overrides anything, other than the OPT EAD card and its just because you just can't have two EADs at the same time.

As long as someone mention his/her status during TPS, he/she can come back to the previous status when TPS ends.

This is just an opinion not a legal advice.
Posted on 07-18-15 4:26 AM     [Snapshot: 421]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@damauli_guy, if you dont apply now, you cannot file for the first time later too. Please check the dhs tps page and see if el salvador, haiti, nicaragua .... etc can apply for the first time? Only renewal is possible. Some contries may be an exception like sirya.
Posted on 07-18-15 4:37 AM     [Snapshot: 423]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@mero_naam_ho, yes tps overrides every previous status. You cannot be on any dual status at a given time. If that is not the case, why do you need Advance parole to visit home when u have valid visa and i-20? why you need EAD if you only want to work on campus (F1 does not need ead to work oncampus)? When tps ends you are back on previous status, conditions apply.
Posted on 07-18-15 5:00 AM     [Snapshot: 426]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@BioMed As far as I know there are somethings which are known to your DSO, and something not known. They know how much courses you had taken each sem, whether you maintained full time course requirements or not. How much you might have worked on campus. They will make decisions based on whether you enrolled full time or not when it comes validating your i-20. There are students who work more than 20 hr per week on f1 and still have valid i-20, you know that. Gas stations, convenient etc.

Now, to your question that can you legally work more than 20 hrs per week? Now read this, what if you worked for only an hour per week offcampus,, forget about 20 hrs, did you violate f1 conditions, since f1 is allowed only to work 20 hrs per week ONCAMPUS, only economic hardship category is allowed to work offcampus. So, i think the "20hr" rule is a just a mere satisfaction, since we are used to it. I guess you would be allowed to work more than 20 hrs, and you should take full time courses at the sametime. Talk to your DSO, and let us know what they say.
Posted on 07-18-15 9:59 AM     [Snapshot: 523]     Reply [Subscribe]
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When you are almost ready to graduate, and you have only one class left. You take one class, and still maintain F1 status. I think is depends on school, if they let you maintain your F1 or not. Condition applied.
Posted on 07-24-15 7:00 PM     [Snapshot: 873]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I am thinking of applying for TPS and I will also be traveling to Nepal for a month on August 6th 2015. Although I will be applying TPS before I go.
So I was wondering if it will affect my pending TPS application? If it does, are there any other ways that I can apply for TPS?
Posted on 07-24-15 9:55 PM     [Snapshot: 955]     Reply [Subscribe]
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As far as I know, if you apply for TPS then you have to have advance parole (travel document) to leave US and come back.
Posted on 07-25-15 3:34 PM     [Snapshot: 1091]     Reply [Subscribe]
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TPS is a "hybrid" status , it does not affect the current status you are in , there is always + and - s , its part of life but having a back up here in USA is not bad and you wont have to regret after the December 2014, for that reason lots of F1 and with OPTs are applying for TPS , its a economic hard ship in the country for that reason it has been granted and predictions is that it will be renewed for some years at least few times for sure !!! so think properly and decide , the decision is definitely yours >>

Posted on 07-25-15 9:19 PM     [Snapshot: 1140]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@Tsering Namgyal. If you travel outside while your TPS application is pending, it will be considered abandoned, hence your application remains void. If you apply once you have completed your trip (within application deadline) still you will not be eligible since you do not meet the continuous physical presence criterion. The only way your TPS remains valid is to apply for Advance parole document and get it approved for the visit before you leave under any circumstances. If you are interested in TPS, i would suggest you not to leave US unless there's an emergency, still you must have your travel authorized.
Posted on 08-05-15 5:13 PM     [Snapshot: 1534]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Everything you wanted to know about TPS with relation to F1, H1 and OPT directly from a horse mouth:

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