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What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

Temporary protected status (TPS) provides individuals already present in the United States with protection from removal when the conditions in their home country prevent their safe return. TPS is a temporary benefit that USCIS may grant to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries). The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or where the country is unable to handle its nationals’ return adequately. Such conditions are:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (i.e., civil war);
  • An environmental disaster (i.e., earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic; and
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Which Countries Has the Secretary Designated for TPS?

Here is a list of the countries designated for TPS. Each of the links leads to web pages that contain country-specific information. The information include the TPS designation period, registration/re-registration period, employment authorization document auto-extended period, date specified for continuous residence requirements, and date specified for continuous physical presence requirements.

Who is Eligible for TPS?

Eligible Individuals:

Individuals are eligible for TPS if they:

  • Are 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 they meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of their 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 their country;[1] and
  • Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since the date specified for their country.[2]

Ineligible Individuals:

Individuals are not eligible for TPS or to maintain their existing TPS if they:

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

How Can I Apply for TPS?

Eligible individuals may apply for TPS registration or re-registration by filing Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. They may file the application during the country-specific registration or re-registration period, or late filing period if applicable. Such applicants must also submit the following documents with the correct filing fee. A fee waiver is available in certain circumstances.

  • Identity and Nationality Evidence: to demonstrate their identity and that they are a national of a country designated for TPS (or that they have no nationality and they last habitually resided in a country designated for TPS).
  • Date of Entry Evidence: to demonstrate when they entered the United States.
  • Continuous Residence (CR) Evidence: to demonstrate that they have been in the United States since the CR date specified for their country.
  • Certified English Translation of submitted evidence if it is not written in English.

In filing for a TPS application, applicants may also request an employment authorization document (EAD). They may request the document by submitting Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, at the same time or at a later date.

If TPS applicants need a waiver to obtain TPS due to an applicable ground of inadmissibility, they need to file a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. USCIS may grant a waiver of certain inadmissibility grounds for humanitarian purposes or when it is in the public interest.

Lastly, it is important to check country-specific information for TPS in filing a TPS application.

When will USCIS Accept Late Filing?

Late Initial Filing:

Individuals can file an initial application for TPS during an extension of their country’s TPS designation period. To qualify to file their initial TPS application late, they must meet all the TPS eligibility requirements as well as at least one of the conditions below:

Condition 1:

  • During either the initial registration period of their country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if the Secretary re-designates their country for TPS, individuals met one of the following conditions:
    • Were in nonimmigrant status, were in voluntary departure status, or any relief from removal;
    • Had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal which was pending or subject to further review or appeal;
    • Were parolees or had a pending request for re-parole; or
    • Are spouses of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS; and
  • The individuals register while the condition still exists or within a 60-day period immediately following the expiration or termination of such condition.

Condition 2:

  • During either the initial registration period of their country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if the Secretary re-designates their country for TPS, individuals were a child of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS.

There is no time limitation on filing if they meet the condition 2 above. Thus, if your parent is currently eligible for TPS and you were the parent’s child (unmarried and under 21 years old) at any time during a TPS initial registration period for your country, you may still be eligible for late initial filing even if you are now over 21 years old or married. You may file during an extension of your TPS designated country.

Late Re-Registration:

If individuals have good cause for filing after the end of the re-registration period, USCIS may accept such late re-registration applications. Such individuals must submit a letter explaining why they are filing late with their re-registration application.

What are the Benefits of TPS?

Individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial interview of their cases:

  • Are not removable from the United States;
  • Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD); and
  • May be granted travel authorization.

TPS does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or provide any other immigration status. Still, TPS does not prevent TPS registrants from applying for any other immigration benefit such as nonimmigrant status or adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition. To obtain such immigration benefit, TPS registrants must meet all the eligibility requirements for that particular benefit.

How Can I Maintain TPS?

Individuals who obtained TPS must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits. This applies to all TPS beneficiaries regardless of who (USCIS, Immigration Judge, or the BIA) initially granted TPS.

Can TPS Registrants Travel Outside the United States?

TPS registrants who wish to travel outside the United States must apply for travel authorization by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. If approved, USCIS will issue a Form I-512T, Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen to the United States. Such individuals who obtained the travel authorization may be admitted into TPS upon their return if a CBP officer determines that they are eligible.

TPS applicants who wish to travel outside the United States while USCIS is still adjudicating their TPS application must apply for travel authorization too. They may apply for travel authorization by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. If approved, USCIS will issue a Form I-512L, Advance Parole Document.

TPS registrants who travel outside the United States without travel authorization may lose TPS and may not be able to reenter the United States.

If TPS applicants travel outside the United States without obtaining advance parole, USCIS may deny the TPS application. Such applicants may not be able to reenter the United States. USCIS may also deny TPS application if such applicants miss and do not respond to important USCIS notices while they are outside the United States.

Can I Appeal a Denial of TPS Application?

If USCIS denies the TPS application, USCIS will inform whether TPS applicants have 30 days to appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office. If eligible, such applicants may also choose to file a motion to reconsider with the Service Center that adjudicated their TPS application. Applicants may file the motion by submitting  Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion and the collect filing fee.


[1] 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.

[2] See footnote 1.

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