What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a provisional immigration status granted to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for the national to return.
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS because of temporary conditions such as national armed conflict or civil war, an environmental disaster (such as an earthquake or flood), or another extraordinary, temporary condition.

Which individuals are eligible for TPS?

Individuals who are preliminarily eligible for TPS are those who:
• are a citizen of the foreign country with a TPS designation, or are effectively “stateless,”
• have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the country’s designation,
• has continuously resided in the United States since a date specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, and
• is not be inadmissible to the U.S. or barred from asylum due to criminal or national security-related reasons. For example, individuals who have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors are not eligible for TPS.

What benefits do a person who has been granted TPS have?

Individuals with TPS are eligible for a temporary work permit and may not be removed from the U.S. based on their immigration status. They may also receive authorization to travel abroad and return to the United States. Currently, most TPS recipients are no longer eligible to file for travel documents. If you have a travel document, consult with an attorney before using it.

How does an individual receive TPS?

A non-citizen does not automatically receive TPS if the Secretary of Homeland Security designates their country TPS. Instead, you must register during a specific registration period, using Form I-821 and supporting documents. You will need to provide:

• a passport, birth certificate or another valid form of your national identity,
• evidence of your date of entry into the United States by a specific deadline date set by USCIS (or previously by INS)
• evidence that you have continuously resided in the United States (rent receipts, employment records, etc.) since a specific date set by USCIS (or previously by INS)
• fees (if registering for the first time)

As you file your I-821, you can request an employment authorization document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765.

How do you maintain TPS Status?

If you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits. If you miss the registration period, the USCIS may accept a late re-registration application if you submit a letter explaining that you had good cause for filing late.

Which countries have TPS?

As of September 2020, the following countries continue to be designated for TPS status:

• *El Salvador (Extended until January 4, 2021)
• *Haiti (Extended until January 4, 2021)
• Honduras (Extended until January 4, 2021)
• Nepal (Extended until January 4, 2021)
• *Nicaragua (Extended until January 4, 2021)
• Somalia (Extended until September 17, 2021)
• South Sudan (Extended until November 2, 2020)
• *Sudan (Extended until May 2, 2022)
• Syria (Extended until March 31, 2021)
• Yemen (Extended until September 3, 2021)

*The Trump Administration’s efforts to end TPS have been and continue to be subject to various court injunctions. At this point, it is unclear whether the above end dates will be extended or if these end dates will be the actual end of these programs.

There have been many changes with the TPS program under the Trump Administration. Also, the Administration has not hidden its animus towards the TPS program and the recipients of its benefits. If you are in TPS status, it may be time to consult with me or another attorney about whether you will have immigration options that will allow you to stay in the US lawfully after TPS ends.

I am an experienced immigration attorney and I have helped hundreds of immigrants with various issues during my 15-year career as an immigration attorney. Please contact my office so that I can start helping you too!