Temporary Protected Status

Route

Special Statuses

Description

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted to qualifying Migrants currently in the United States who are nationals of countries determined to be unsafe or be unable to adequately receive any returning national. The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security generally defines a country as ‘unsafe for return’ if the country is currently experiencing or is under unsafe conditions of ongoing war, environmental disaster, epidemic, and any other temporary and extraordinary circumstances that make the country unsafe for the Migrant to return.

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security announces the countries deemed unsafe and that may be granted temporary status while the country overcomes these challenging conditions. Generally, a ‘designation period’ is established for each country to determine the validity period and protection under TPS. Initial TPS status can be granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) or an Immigration Judge once the Migrant has proven eligibility. It is important to note, that a Migrant cannot simply apply for TPS status. The Migrant must generally file an application for TPS and an application requesting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) during an open initial registration period. The Migrant must also submit supporting documentation and the associated filing fees. The Migrant will be found to be preliminary eligible, prima facie eligible, for TPS until USCIS performs an initial review of the case and supporting documentation.

In the situation where the Migrant is currently in removal proceedings and the basis of the Notice of Action (NTA) is a mandatory ground for TPS ineligibility, the TPS application must be filed and adjudicated by an Immigration Judge from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Regardless of the agency with jurisdiction over the TPS application, the Migrant must generally meet three main requirements to be eligible for TPS; 1) provide evidence of nationality, 2) provide evidence of initial entry, and 3) provide evidence of continuous presence in the United States. The Migrant has the burden of proof to establish physical presence on or before the date of initial registration date. The Migrant must also provide evidence of nationality to the country designated for TPS. A Migrant cannot declare themselves a national of any country based on the number of years of residence in that country. Therefore, all documentation to verify a Migrant’s nationality such as a birth certificate, passport, or national identification card, is deemed important. Additionally, the Migrant must provide documentation to verify physical presence without interruption in the United States from the date of the initial registration to the time of filing.

In the situation where the Migrant files with USCIS, the Migrant may simultaneously file for TPS and an EAD. Upon receipt of filings, USCIS will issue a Notice of Receipt for each application. A Notice of Receipt serves an important role as it verifies that a TPS application was submitted by a certain date. Additionally, the Migrant will receive a Notice of Biometrics following the Notice of Receipt. The Migrant must comply with all instructions and attend any necessary biometric service appointment established by USCIS for the purpose of completing all identity, background, and security checks.

If USCIS grants the Migrant TPS status, the Migrant may be permitted to remain in the United States temporary during the allocated time. The Migrant may be subject to re-registration of the TPS status should the country be granted a designation extension by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security generally announces the date for re-registration for each TPS designated country. The Migrant is responsible for initial registration and re-registration of TPS. Failure to meet any of the registration dates for the designated country may result in illegibility of TPS status. USCIS will review the Migrant’s TPS application and its supporting documentation. If the application and the supporting documentation are satisfactory and meet eligibility for TPS, USCIS adjudicate the applications. USCIS will then issue an Approval Notice to the Migrant and/or the attorney of record. The Migrant will also receive an EAD accordingly to the validity period of the approved TPS.

In the situation where the Migrant was granted TPS by an Immigration Judge, retaining a copy of the original Order is highly recommended for all future filings. Upon approval of TPS, the Migrant is eligible to apply for an EAD and must submit a copy of the Order to satisfy TPS eligibility. It is also important for the Migrant to submit this Order with any re-registration application with USCIS.

TPS designations/extensions vary by country and are often evolving based on the country’s conditions and level of security to permit a safe return of its nationals. It is recommended to visit USCIS’ webpage to obtain confirmation of U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security designated countries and specific requirements to meet eligibility for TPS. Migrants, who meet TPS eligibility requirements, from the following countries are currently eligible for TPS:

  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

Benefits

A Migrant who is eligible for TPS is generally granted temporary stay in the United States and is protected from being returned to a dangerous and/or unstable country due to extraordinary circumstances. The Migrant may also become eligible to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) and a social security number pursuant to an approved and/or pending TPS application, determined by the adjudicating agency. The Migrant will be granted authorization to lawfully work in the United States.

In the situation where a specific country is granted an automatic extension, the Migrant may receive a Notice of Extension allocating additional time to an expired and/or soon to expire EAD. This automatic extension grants additional time for USCIS to issue new validity dates on new EADs.

Additionally, the Migrant may also become eligible to apply for a travel authorization and be issued a parole document pursuant to an approved TPS application. USCIS will review the Migrant’s request to travel and adjudicate the case accordingly. The Migrant may use this parole document to travel internationally solely to the authorized countries/locations. However, the Migrant should consult with a licensed attorney and/or an accredited legal representative prior to departing the United States under TPS parole or any travel authorization. Departing the United States may reinstate a prior deportation order and/or interrupt continuous physical presence in the United States and negatively impact any future filings.

Derivative Dependents

TPS applications are treated independently and must be filed by each Migrant accordingly to the country’s requirements. There are no derivative TPS status for any spouse and/or children.

Process Description

TPS designation is generally effective for a minimum of six (6) months and a maximum of eighteen (18) months. Prior to the expiration period, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security will reevaluate the country’s condition and determine if it still meets TPS designation. If TPS is deemed necessary, it will be extended for an additional six (6), twelve (12) or eighteen (18) months.

The TPS process and timeframes vary depending on the agencies’ internal policies for handling TPS applications. TPS applications timeframes vary, and cases may take several months. A TPS case pending with USCIS may generally be processed and approved within 12 months, depending on various factors. Migrants may visit USCIS’ webpage and use USCIS tools and resources to obtain up-to-date case processing times.

Unfavorable Circumstances

For some individuals, immigration is a complex process to navigate through due to the strict requirements and interpretation of the law. Past or present criminal history and/or previous immigration history related to illegal entries, prior deportations, and/or previous immigration benefit denials, may impact a TPS decision. Currently, Migrants who apply for TPS may not have two (2) misdemeanors or any felony convictions on record. This eligibility requirement applies to both initial TPS applicants and re-registration applicants. A Migrant may be required to submit any certified disposition to USCIS at initial or re-registration period of a TPS application. Failure to provide USCIS required certified dispositions and/or proper documentation may result in USCIS issuance of an Intent to Deny Notice or Denial Notice.

As mentioned before, it is highly important for the Migrant to meet all TPS requirements. Failure to meet registration dates may result in illegibility and/or cancellation of TPS. Although, some factors may not necessarily cause the denial, it is best to consult with a licensed attorney and/or an accredited legal representative to confirm eligibility and to establish best course of action. A licensed attorney may be able to assess the Migrant’s circumstances accordingly to the law, immigration bars, and restrictions.

Relevant Links List

Name Description Website
USCIS Temporary Protective Status Website contains additional information regarding current U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) TPS eligibility. https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status

Citations

TPS applications are processed and adjudicated under complex and strict eligibility requirements. Certain relevant laws and regulations are specified under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and/or U.S. Code. Some of the applicable laws and regulations include:

Citations List

Citations Description Section Title
INA § 212 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a federal law that establishes immigration, naturalization, and exclusion of aliens. General Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas and Ineligible for Admission; Waivers of Inadmissibility
8 U.S.C. § 1254a The U.S. Code (USC) contain general and permanent laws of the United States. Temporary Protected Status

Forms

Related Forms List

Name Description No. Fee
Application for Employment Authorization An Application for Employment Authorization form should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of the Migrant Spouse to obtain an employment authorization document. The filing fee may be waived if it's an initial request under adjustment of status). I-765 $410
Application for Temporary Protected Status An Application for Temporary Protective Status should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of receiving temporary protective status from deportation on eligible countries. I-821 $50

Supporting Documents

A TPS application must generally be supported by documentation in support of three essential requirements related to the Migrant’s nationality, initial entry into the United States, and continuous physical presence in the United States. Some of the required supporting documentation may include:

Supporting Documents List

Name Description
Evidence of Continuous Presence in the US
Evidence of Country Conditions
Evidence of U.S. Admission
Notice to Appear
Passport-Style Photographs Passport-styles photographs must comply with USCIS' requirements related to sizing, position, and color.
Personal Documentation Personal documentation must be submitted to verify the Sponsor's and Migrant's identity. Personal documentation includes birth certificates, passport biographical pages, identification IDs. All documentation must be in compliance with the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs which requirements vary by country.