Humanitarian Relief

what types of humanitarian relief are there?

Each year, thousands of people are granted special immigration status based on humanitarian relief. These cases involve foreign nationals who have suffered persecution, extreme hardship or come from a war-torn country. Some examples are listed below.


Asylum is an immigration status given to certain foreign nationals who can show that they have suffered persecution in their home country. Though the term “persecution” is not explicitly defined in the law, an asylum case usually requires evidence that the individual’s life or freedom is in jeopardy because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  Immigration lawyers have seen an increase in Central Americans applying for asylum based on persecution suffered after being targeted by gangs. In these countries, the government is often weak, corrupt or otherwise does not control the activities of the gangs. Applications for asylum are very difficult to win and often require the help of an experienced immigration attorney or non-profit organization.

Asylees (i.e. those who are granted asylum) are generally able to petition for their spouse and minor children to receive asylum as well.  If you have been granted asylum in the U.S. and have lived in the U.S. for a year or more, you may qualify for permanent residency. 

Click here for more information on how to apply for asylum.


Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is just that–a temporary immigration status which allows the foreign national to live and work lawfully in the U.S. during times of disruption in their home countries such as war or severe natural disasters.  TPS is usually granted for 18 months at a time and may be renewable depending on the conditions of your home country. To qualify for TPS, you must show:

  • You were already here in the U.S. when the disaster or dangerous condition occurred;
  • You do not have a felony conviction or more than two misdemeanors; and 
  • You must timely renew your TPS.

Many people who qualify for TPS come from the countries of Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras. TPS alone does not lead to permanent resident status. However, you may explore other options to obtain permanent residency

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