Temporary Protected Status

A special immigration class, Temporary Protected Status can allow citizens of certain countries special immigration privileges in the lack of difficult, temporary conditions in their home country. These conditions include:

  • Undefined “extraordinary and temporary conditions”
  • Environmental disaster or epidemic 
  • Ongoing armed conflict 

The Secretary of Homeland Security must designate a country eligible for TPS in order for nationals from that country to apply for this status. 

During the review period after you send in the petition, you have certain protection. These include:

  • Safety from removal proceedings 
  • Eligibility for employment authorization document (EAD) 
  • Eligibility for travel authorization 

If granted TPS, you are exempt from detention by the Department of Homeland Security due to your immigration in the United States. You must re-register during re-registration period to maintain your TPS protection. Temporary Protected Status cannot be obtained as derivative, so each person must file for him-or-herself. 

TPS itself does not lead to green card or permanent resident status or any other permanent immigration status. However, if you are granted TPS, you can still apply for nonimmigrant status, file for adjustment of status due to changes in circumstances, and apply for any other immigration benefits or protections. Being granted TPS does not grant you any special benefits in other immigration cases. Importantly, you can apply for TPS in conjunction with other immigration applications. A denial in other immigration cases, like an asylum case, does not guarantee that your TPS case will be denied. 

As of October 30, 2015, the following countries are eligible for TPS:

  • El Salvador 
  • Guinea 
  • Haiti 
  • Honduras
  • Liberia 
  • Nepal 
  • Nicaragua 
  • Sierra Leone 
  • Somali 
  • Sudan 
  • South Sudan 
  • Syria 
  • Yemen 

Requirements to Apply

You must meet all of these requirements: 

  • Be a citizen 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 meet the requires for late initial filing during the extension of your country’s TPS designation
  • Resided in the United States continuously since the dates specified for your country of origin
    • Brief, casual, and innocent departures from the United States do not constitute a break in continuous residence because the USCIS can allow an exemption in certain cases. You must declare any and all departures from the United States in order to be considered for exemption. 

Concerns

Your petition may be denied for the following reasons:

  • You have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States 
  • You are inadmissible as an immigrant due to grounds in INA section 212(a)
  • These include: criminal and national security interests-related grounds 
  • You are barred from asylum due to the mandatory bars
  • These include:
  • You were not continuously residing in the United States during the necessary time period 
  • You do not file your TPS petitions during the initial or late initial TPS registration requirements 

Late Initial Filing for TPS

You can file your initial TPS application late, if you meet at least one of the following qualification:

  1. You must have met one of the following condition during the registration or the re-registration period and you must submit your petition while you still met the condition or within a 60-day period following the end of this condition:
    1. You had submitted an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal which was pending or in the process of appeal or review 
    2. You were a parole or had a pending request for re-parole 
    3. You are the spouse of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS
    4. You were a nonimmigrant, were granted voluntary departure status, or any relief from removal 
  2. If you were unmarried and under 21 years of age and the child of a person who is now eligible for TPS during any point of the of initial registration and the re-registration period, you may file for an extension of your TPS designated country. Even if you are older than 21 years of age, you can still submit your petition under the late initial filing category. 

When you are re-registering for TPS, The USCIS can extend exemptions to those who submit applications after the registration period for your country. To be considered for exemption to the deadline, you must submit a letter to explain your good reason for filing your petition late. 

Travel
    
If you would like to travel outside of the United States while under TPS, you must apply of advance parole or travel authorization. You must submit For I-131, Application for Travel Document to apply for advance parole. If you are waiting to hear a result from USCIS on your case, traveling out the country can put your case at risk if you received updates or Request for Evidence while you are unable to respond. 

Required Forms 

  1. Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status
  2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization 

Both forms must be filed, even if you do not want Employment Authorization. If you do not want Employment Authorization, do not check any of the three boxes at the top of Form I-765.   

If you are subject to inadmissibility and would like to petition for a waiver, you can also submit Form I-601, Application for Waivers on Grounds of Inadmissibility with the fee or fee waiver. This must be filed with your initial TPS petition, but if you are granted a waiver, you do not need to apply for a waiver for future TPS petitions. Waivers can be granted based on USCIS discretion. 

Required Government Filing Fees

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, mediocrem persequeris no est, usu habeo ornatus molestiae ne. Cum eu blandit invenire honestatis. Per id ipsum consul, ex eros labitur vis, sit timeam offendit volutpat ei. Pri quaeque convenire reprimique ex, cu aeque labores qui, scripta minimum an sea. Duo no ludus veritus iracundia.

Required Documentation 

  • Identity and Nationality Evidence: documents that show proof of identity and nationality or proof of habitual residence in a TPS-designated country 
    • A copy of passport 
    • A copy of birth certificate and photo identification 
    • Any national identity document bearing your photograph or fingerprint or both
    • Can include documents from your country’s Embassy or Consulate in the United States, i.e. national ID card or naturalization certificate 
  • If you do not have any of the above documents, you can submit the following:
    • An affidavit with proof that you have tried to obtain the above documents and an explanation for why you were unable to use your country’s consular services to obtain these documents 
    • Nationality documentation without fingerprints or photos 
    • Baptismal certificate if it lists your nationality or your parent’s nationality 
    • Medical or school records if they have information about your nationality 
    • Other immigration documents that list your nationality
    • Affidavits from friends or family who have close personal knowledge of the date and place of your birth and your parents’ nationality 
  • Date of Entry Evidence
    • Passport with entry stamp
    • Form I-94
  • Continuously Residing Evidence
    • Employment Records
    • Rent receipts, utility bills, receipts or letters from companies 
    • School records from the schools you or your children have attended in the U.S. 
    • Hospital or medical records concerning treatment or hospitalization of you or your children 
    • Attestations by church, union, or other organization officials who know you and where you have been residing 

The Process

What to Expect if You Apply to USCIS

  1. File Your Petition
    1. Ensure all your forms are completed correctly. Any mistakes will delay the processing of your case. 
  2. USCIS Receives Your Application
    1. The USCIS will send you a receipt notice when they enter your case into the system. You should keep this receipt notice as it contains very important information that you will use to contact USCIS if there is any delay in your case or further evidence is requested. 
    2. You can call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283 if you do not receive a receipt notice in the mail within three weeks of filing of the petition. 
    3. If your petition in rejection at this initial stage, you can refile your petition. The rejection at this stage will come with instructions on what needs to be fixed. Once you complete those revisions, you can refile your case. 
  3. USCIS Contacts You
    1. The USCIS may send a biometrics appointment notice.
  4. Go to the ASC
    1. Identifying information will be collected at this appointment. This is not an immigration interview with a consular office. Rather, USCIS will collect documentation to verify your identity, perform background checks, and create your Employment Authorization Document. 
    2. You must bring the following items to your appointment
      1. Evidence of nationality and identity with a photograph of you
      2. Your receipt notice that was mailed to you
      3. Your ASC appointment notice
      4. Your current Employment Authorization document, if you have one
      5. You can reschedule, but you should do so immediately when you discover there is something in your schedule that prevents you from attending this appointment. Rescheduling your appointment can delay the processing of your TPS petition. 
      6. To reschedule you must send in a your appointment notice with your rescheduling request to the ASC office listed on the notice. The ASC will send you a new appointment date and time by mail. You should make a copy of the appointment notice for your own records prior to mailing the original notice to the ASC office. 
      7. Please note that missing you ASC appointment can have a negative impact on the processing of your petition. Your petition can be denied on grounds that you abandoned the case. 
  5. USCIS Determines Work Eligibility
    1. If your application of Employment Authorization is denied, you can appeal the decision to USCIS Administrative Appeals Office or you can request that an immigration judge review your petition. If you undertake either of these processes, your Employment Authorization will be extended during the period you are waiting for the decision. You must request an extension under these grounds if you Employment Authorization expires by submitting Form I-765 and evidence of your appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office or your request for an immigration judge to review your petition. 
  6. USCIS Adjudicates the Application
    1. The USCIS may contact you to offer you an opportunity to submit a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, if you did not submit this with your initial petition. You must follow the guidelines and dates associated with this form, or your petition will be denied.  
  7. USCIS Approves or Denies the Application
    1. If your petition is denied, you can appeal the decision in certain cases. To file an appeal, you must submit Form I-290B and a filing fee of $680 or Form I-912, Application for Fee Waiver (or written request) in lieu of the filing fee.
    2. You can be placed in removal proceedings following the TPS denial. In this case, you can request that an immigration judge review your TPS application. If this judge also issues a denial, you can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

You can also receive TPS through an Immigration Judge or Board of Immigration Appeals. You can apply for the benefits associated with TPS by submitting documents like the final order or final decision from the Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration. There are detailed instructions for this process, as it is separate from the USCIS process.