Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) grants temporary status to those in the United States from countries that are in some sort of disarray, such as being in a civil war or if there was a natural disaster. USCIS posts a list of countries and people from those countries who are in the United States, may apply for TPS. TPS allows people to live, work, and travel in and out of the United States without fear of being deported or overstaying a visa.

The thing about TPS is that a person who receives TPS only receives it for a certain amount of time. The provision states that TPS should be for “not less than 6 months and not more than 18 months” BUT the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), can extend the length of TPS for each country, depending on the state of the country.

In order to be eligible for TPS you must be in the U.S., legally or illegally, you cannot have a serious criminal record, and you must be from one of the designated countries. If you are eligible, you should make sure that you are not “inadmissible” under the INA or are subject to any of the mandatory bars for asylum.

If you are planning on filing for TPS, you should fill out forms I-821 and I-765. One thing to remember is that DHS reviews TPS for each country and if TPS is renewed for your country, you will also have to reapply for it.

If your TPS is denied, you can appeal the decision, but it may be expensive and take a long time.

Lastly, if you are from a TPS country, you may also have an asylum claim, if you are afraid to return home! Read more about asylum here.

If you would like help filing for Temporary Protected Status, please call our office at 508-438-1198.




#tps #temporaryprotectedstatus #asylum


What you need to know about Asylum

The first thing you may be wondering is, what is the difference between a refugee and a person seeking asylum? A refugee is a person who is located OUTSIDE of the United Status and is afraid to return to their native country and seeking refuge in the U.S. A person seeking asylum is already IN the U.S. and is afraid to return to their native country.

You’ll notice one thing that they both have in common which is that a person is afraid to return to their native country. In order to file for asylum you must have been persecuted or have a  well-founded fear of persecution on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and be unwilling to return to your country.The term “persecution” is not specifically defined and can come in many different ways. BUT if you are NOT afraid to return to your native country, you CANNOT file for asylum.

Along with having a well-founded fear of persecution, you must file your asylum application within ONE year of entering the United States. The exception to that is if there are “changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to file.”

If you plan to file for asylum, it is important that you speak with an attorney first. Filing for asylum should be taken very seriously. You can file whether you have status in the U.S. or not. And if you don’t have status and file, the U.S. government will know who you are. If your asylum is denied, you could be deported back to the country you fear. If your asylum is granted, you can eventually apply for a green card and after some time gain citizenship! So it is important to put together an application with evidence that can demonstrate the persecution or your fear of returning to your country.

Please call our office at 508-438-1198, if you plan to file for asylum!



#asylum #refugee #greencard #oneyear


Why a Google Search is Not Enough

When faced with a legal issue, the first step many people take is to turn to Google. A quick search, and BOOM! all your questions have answers. Right? Wrong! While you questions may seem simple, often times there are sub-issues that are not apparent to a layperson.

When you meet with a lawyer, the lawyer will look at at the entire issue to ensure that all aspects of your situation are properly addressed. Online forums like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Rocket Lawyer, Legal Zoom, Avvo may be able to provide a basic, initial answer, but none of these forums are able to provide the in-depth analysis of an attorney. Without the expertise of an attorney, there may be significant issues that are left unaddressed. This could result in major issues down the road that could have been prevented.

The law is continuously changing. It’s a lawyer’s job to stay on top of these changes and advise clients accordingly. There are no guarantees the information you find online is current or accurate.

While the cost of hiring an attorney may be scary, many attorneys are willing to work within a client’s budget. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations, and the courts can provide a list of attorneys who are able to provide services under the Limited Assistance Representation program. So, please, the next time you have a legal question, please consult an attorney, not Google.


This blog was written by Attorney Catherine Taylor and is intended solely for informational purposes. This does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

Chris Brown & the Search Warrant

Most of you have undoubtedly heard that there was a standoff between the Los Angeles Police and Chris Brown, who was at home. Although this has been a bit sensationalized, the police were at his home after a phone call was made by a woman who claims she was threatened by Brown, but there was no “standoff.”

Instead Brown exercised his right to NOT allow the police into his home without a search warrant. Most people might think that if the police come knocking on your door that you have to let them in, but you DO NOT have to let them in. The home is one of the sacred things that the law protects and that is why we have laws about ‘breaking and entering’ and ‘trespassing.’ So if the police come to your home and ask to come in, you can do what Chris Brown did and ask to see a warrant! If they do not have a warrant and you don’t want them in your home, then they can’t come in! If they DO have a warrant, then you DO have to let them in, but until then it is your call. Chris Brown refused to let the police in without a warrant, but after the police obtained one, he let them in, was arrested and released on bail.

Of course there are always exceptions to this rule and we aren’t sure what is going to happen to Chris Brown just yet, but if you have any questions about your rights or there has been a police search at your home, please call our office at 508-438-1198.


#chrisbrown #searchwarrant #homesearch #criminallaw #yourrights

Collaborative Law in Divorce

It is becoming more common than ever for parties to a divorce action to attempt to resolve their dispute prior to filing any paperwork or stepping foot in a courthouse.

Often times parties to a divorce attempt to come to a resolution through the use of a mediator. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties come to an agreement. The mediator does not represent either party, but instead works to guide the parties to a mutual agreement. Typically, clients do not have individual attorneys present at mediation sessions, but may consult with an independent attorney prior to signing off on any agreement.

A less common, but emerging, form of alternative dispute resolution is called Collaborative Law. Collaborative Law is similar to mediation in that the parties to a divorce action attempt to come to a resolution of all matters outside of court through the use of a specially trained lawyer who acts as a neutral third party; however, each party is typically represented by independent counsel, as well. The attorneys representing each spouse in a collaborative divorce agree from the outset to not participate in the litigation of a divorce if collaboration is unsuccessful.

In order to proceed with Collaborative Law, both parties must agree and retain collaboratively trained attorneys. Although each party has independent counsel, the costs of collaboration tend to be lower than the conventional litigated divorce.

Once an agreement is reached, the parties may then proceed with filing a Joint Petition for Divorce. A finalized agreement is submitted to the Court for approval in an uncontested hearing.


This blog post was written by Attorney Catherine Taylor and is not intended to be construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

How do you become a green card holder? Part Two

So in part one, I explained how you can obtain a green card through a US citizen. This post will talk about how to get a green card through another green card holder/legal permanent resident.

A green card holder can petition for only certain family members. They can petition for a spouse or an unmarried child. The child may be over 21, they just cannot be married! If the child marries and divorces, the green card holder could petition for the child. The main thing to remember is the child must NOT be married!

A green card holder is much limited in who they can petition a green card for. If a green card holder wanted to bring parents or siblings over to the US, they must wait an appropriate amount of time, then naturalize and become US citizens. Once they become citizens they can apply for their parents, siblings, and married children.

Another issue with a green card holder petitioning for a spouse or child is that there is a wait time, whereas US citizens who petition for spouses do NOT have a wait time and the visa is immediately available. For spouses and children of green card holders and other familial categories of US citizens, there are only a certain amount of visas granted every year. So every month the government puts out a bulletin of how long the wait time is.  Depending on the category the family member is in it normally takes years, but if you are from India, Mexico, or the Philippines where the backlog of visas is higher than other countries, you will wait MANY years.

If a green card holder petitions for their spouse and it is approved, but then the green card holder becomes a US citizen, the spouse will not longer have to wait for a visa, because now he or she is a spouse of a citizen and those visas are available immediately.

Green card holders can only petition for spouses and unmarried children, but there will be a wait time. If possible, it’s always better to naturalize because there are more options available!

If you have any questions, please call our office at (508) 438-1198.


#greencard #naturalize #uscitizens #legalpermanentresident #lpr

Safekeeping of Important Documents

A common question I hear from my clients is: “where should I keep my estate planning documents?” Often, the first thought people a have is to put important documents in safe deposit box. Makes sense, right? Wrong! Unless there is a co-owner on the safe deposit box, no one will be able to gain access to the box or its contents without your permission or court order, and the documents that may provide that permission are in the box! As such, I always advise my clients to not keep their documents in a safe deposit box.

So what other options do you have for safekeeping these documents?

As having the original documents is of utmost importance, it is imperative that the documents are kept in a safe place, but are also accessible. Often, my clients choose to keep the originals at my office with copies at home in a filing cabinet or desk drawer with the location of the original documents noted.

Many times clients will also consider keeping their estate planning documents in a safe, but that presents many of the same problems of keeping the documents in a safe deposit box.

Regardless of whether you choose to keep your estate planning documents at your lawyer’s office or at home, it is imperative that your family knows the location of the documents and how to access them quickly and without delay when they are needed.


#estateplanning #will #lawyer