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Humanitarian

Temporary Protected Status

TPS>

Understanding temporary legal status for immigrants in the U.S.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian program that allows eligible nationals of designated countries facing extreme conditions, such as armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances, to live and work legally in the United States for a specified period. TPS is not a pathway to permanent residence, but it offers a lifeline to those in urgent need of safety and refuge.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) shields individuals from deportation, grants employment authorization (with an Employment Authorization Document) and allows for travel abroad authorization (Application for Travel Document, Form I-131).

When individuals from certain countries face security threats upon returning home due to ongoing conflicts or adverse conditions, they may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This status is provided to safeguard their safety and well-being. As of 2023, approximately 610,000 TPS recipients reside in the United States.

TPS History

The Immigration Act of 1990 empowered the Attorney General to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to individuals from countries where returning would endanger their safety due to armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary conditions. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the authority to grant TPS transferred to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

How is TPS Determined?

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with various federal agencies, decides whether a country qualifies for TPS designation based on ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary conditions that pose risks to individuals returning home.

TPS Eligibility

TPS eligibility extends to nationals of designated countries or habitual residents of those countries who are already in the United States. To qualify, individuals must have been continuously present in the U.S. since the country's TPS designation date and meet other criteria established by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

TPS Eligibility

Country

         

Afghanistan    

Burma

Cameroon      

*El Salvador   

Ethiopia          

*Haiti  

*Honduras      

*Nepal

*Nicaragua     

Somalia          

South Sudan  

Sudan

Syria   

Ukraine          

Venezuela      

Yemen

Please check within this link for any important updates, including the expiration dates of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for your country: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.  *Denotes countries whose designation had been terminated by the Department of Homeland Security by December 2020 but were auto-extended by court rulings.          

TPS: The Application Process

The TPS application process involves submitting various forms, evidence, and fees. Applicants must provide identity and nationality evidence, date of entry evidence, and continuous residence evidence. Fee waivers are available for those unable to pay.

TPS: Additional Tips

While TPS doesn't offer a direct path to permanent residency or citizenship, it doesn't preclude eligibility for these statuses either.

If TPS is removed from a country, individuals revert to their previous immigration status. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is a status similar to TPS, but it's granted by executive power rather than congressional authority.

Who Is Eligible for TPS?

To be eligible for TPS, you must:

  • Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country;

  • File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or you meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation;

  • Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country; and

  • Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.

 

You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:

  • Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;

  • Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;

  • Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;

  • Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;

  • Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements;

  • If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause; or

  • Resettled in another country prior to your arrival to the U.S.

How to Apply for TPS?

Applying for TPS involves submitting the necessary forms, evidence, and fees (if applicable) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Applicants should also undergo biometrics and security checks as part of the process.

If you or someone you know is eligible for TPS, it's essential to seek legal counsel or assistance to navigate the application process effectively. Additionally, staying informed about immigration policies and updates is key to making the most of available opportunities.

For the most up-to-date information and guidance on TPS, visit the official DHS website https://www.dhs.gov/search?goog=tps and consult with our immigration experts and legal professionals who can provide personalized assistance during this critical time.

How is TPS different from Asylum?

TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:

  • Applying for nonimmigrant status

  • Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition

  • Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible

Asylum grants an applicant authorized stay, so long as the applicant does not work without authorization during the pendency of the asylum application.

Lawful immigration status is distinct from being in a period of authorized stay. Periods of authorized stay are only relevant when determining an alien’s accrual of unlawful presence for inadmissibility purposes. Although an alien in a lawful immigration status is also in a period of authorized stay, the opposite is not necessarily true. Those in a period of authorized stay may or may not be in a lawful immigration status.

Officers consider the difference between lawful immigration status and a period of authorized stay when determining whether an alien is in lawful immigration status for purposes of the INA 245(c)(2) adjustment bar.

When can I apply for TPS? 

If you're applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) you must do during the registration period.

I am in U.S., but my family is not, can they still qualify for TPS if I apply?

All applicants must have continuous residence in the U.S. and continuous physical presence in the U.S.

How long will TPS last? 

The designation of TPS is typically effective for 18 months and renewed at DHS discretion in 18 months increment.

If I apply for TPS when will I get my work authorization?

If USCIS approves your TPS registration application and you filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and paid the fee for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (or if USCIS approved your fee waiver request), USCIS will issue you an EAD with an expiration date of country redesignation date at time of approval.

How long will TPS last? 

If you have TPS and wish to travel outside the United States, you must apply for travel authorization. Travel authorization for TPS is issued as an advance parole document if USCIS determines it is appropriate to approve your request. This document gives you permission to leave the United States and return during a specified period of time. To apply for advance parole, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. If you are filing Form I-131 together with Form I-821, send your forms to the address listed on the linked page above for your country. If you are filing Form I-131 separately based on a pending or approved Form I-821, check the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131 page.

 

If you leave the United States without requesting advance parole, you may lose TPS and you may not be permitted to re-enter the United States.

If USCIS is still adjudicating your TPS application, you may miss important USCIS notices, such as Requests for Additional Evidence, while you are outside the U.S. failure to respond to these requests may result in the denial of your application.

We encourage you to read and understand the travel warning on Form I-131 before requesting advance parole, even if you have been granted TPS. If you have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for any period of time, you may want to seek legal advice before requesting advance parole for travel.

What forms do I need to fill out to apply for TPS myself and we here can I find it?

To register or re-register for TPS you must file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

When filing an initial TPS application or re-registering for TPS, you can also request an employment authorization document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, at the time of filing Form I-821. You may also file your Form I-765 request separately at a later date.  Filing Form I-821 with Form I-765 may help you receive your EAD more promptly if you are eligible.

When you apply, if you are aware that a relevant ground of inadmissibility applies to you and you need a waiver to obtain TPS, please include a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, with your TPS application package. However, you do not need to file a new Form I-601 for an incident that USCIS has already waived with a prior TPS application. USCIS may grant a waiver of certain inadmissibility grounds for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is in the public interest.

Links:

What documents will I need to apply?

When filing an initial TPS application, you must submit:

  • Identity and Nationality Evidence: to demonstrate your identity and that you are a national of a country designated for TPS (or that you have no nationality, and you last habitually resided in a country designated for TPS).

  • Date of Entry Evidence: to demonstrate when you entered the United States.

  • Continuous Residence (CR) Evidence: to demonstrate that you have been in the United States since the CR date specified for your country (see your country’s TPS web page to the left).

Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. The translator must certify that:

  • He or she is competent both in English and the foreign language used in the original document; and

  • The translation is true and correct to the best of his or her ability, knowledge, and belief.

Avoid Scams

Please be aware that some unauthorized practitioners may try to take advantage of you by claiming they can file TPS forms. These same individuals may ask that you pay them to file such forms. We want to ensure that all potential TPS applicants know how to obtain legitimate, accurate legal advice and assistance. A list of accredited representatives and free or low-cost legal providers is available on the USCIS finding legal advice webpage.

We don’t want you to become a victim of an immigration scam. If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorized to give legal advice. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Department of Justice (DOJ) recognized organization can give you legal advice. Visit the Avoid Scams page for information and resources.

 

If you are from one of the countries with TPS designation and want to know if you qualify for TPS, please take our survey by clicking here.

As part of our commitment to supporting our clients and friends, we have created the following questionnaire to analyze your personal information and determine your eligibility for this benefit. Once we have reviewed the questionnaires, our office will contact potential applicants within 48 hours to inform them of their eligibility and discuss any other options available in their case.

Frequently Asked Questions

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    Absolutely, we extend our legal services beyond the borders. Whether you're located internationally, we're equipped to handle your case. We offer consultations through video conference or telephone, ensuring accessibility and support for clients globally.
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  • What is the current value of attorney appointments?
    The value of the consultation depends on the one you select: I have a new immigration case to discuss with an attorney. Complete Questionnaire - $250. I have a new immigration case to discuss with an attorney. Basic Profile- $300. I have more follow up questions to discuss with my attorney on an existing matter. Basic Profile - $300. *Non refundable. If you hire our office within the next 90 days following your consultation with the attorney, the consultation payment will be credited towards your case.
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