Visitors whose countries are unsafe to return to can apply for a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States. A Temporary Protected Status allows foreigners to live and work in the States until it is secure to return to their homes.
To help you better understand the meaning of TPS and how to get one, we’ve
prepared a guide to give answers to the most frequently asked questions.
What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
People from certain countries arriving in the United States may be granted TPS when deporting them to their home country poses a threat to that individual’s security. Temporary Protected Status is granted when the person’s country of origin is experiencing an ongoing armed conflict or other difficulties that make deporting senseless or a direct threat to the safety and wellbeing of that individual.
Temporary Protected Status Benefits
People with TPS status enjoy the following TPS benefits:
- Are protected from removal (deportation)
- Can acquire an employment authorization document
- Can apply for travel abroad authorization
People with Temporary Protected Status don’t automatically become eligible for permanent residence or United States citizenship. TPS is a temporary benefit only and doesn’t lead to lawful permanent resident status. If they qualify, they can:
- Apply for non-immigrant status
- Apply for other immigration benefits or additional protection
- File for status adjustment or green card
Who Is Qualified for TPS?
If you want to receive TPS in the United States, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be a resident of a country designated as a Temporary Protected Status country
- Be an immigrant without nationality, or have last lived in a selected country
- Enter a TPS petition during the registration period
- Have been continuously physically present in the United States (besides the short temporary departures)
TPS countries include:
- Those that have experienced an epidemic or environmental disaster
- Those that are involved in a continuous armed conflict
- Those that have experienced unique temporary conditions making it dangerous to return home
List of Countries Designated as TPS Countries
Since the new President Joe Biden officially took office in January 2021, the Department of Homeland Security, which controls the Temporary Protected Status program, added two countries – Venezuela and Burma. Venezuelans are eligible for work authorization and deportation relief under a separate federal program – Deferred Enforced Departure.
According to the latest news from The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security, the following countries are named as TPS countries:
- Burma (Myanmar)
- El Salvador
Once a country joins the TPS designation list, eligible nationals have a limited time to apply for the Temporary Protected Status program.
If you visit the official website of The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, you can access the listing and view the applicable date on which a specific country is named a TPS country and the expiration date for designation. You can also access the dates of the initial registration period, as well as the re-registration
Who Is Not Qualified for TPS and Employment Authorization Document?
An immigrant is not eligible to obtain Temporary Protected Status if:
- They have been convicted of two or more misdemeanors or convicted of any felony in the United States
- They are unacceptable as visitors in the United States due to security-related reasons
- Are subject to asylum in the United States (people who have engaged in terrorist activities)
- They disobey to meet the requirement of physical presence in the United States
- They fail to register as eligible immigrants
What To Do If You Are Inadmissible
If you are on the list of inadmissible visitors and can’t get into the Temporary Protected Status program, there are a couple of things you can do.
- Apply for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
- File the I-601 form
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services can authorize a waiver of inadmissibility for the following exceptions:
- For humanitarian purposes
- When it is in the public interest
- To keep families together
TPS Documentation: How to Apply for Temporary Protected Status
If you want to get into the Temporary Protected Status program, you first need to confirm your country is on the TPS list. People from Burma, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen are eligible for TPS designation.
Next, the foreigner should establish eligibility by submitting the following TPS-related documentation:
- Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821)
- Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-765)
- Inadmissibility Waiver Request (only if necessary) (Form I-601)
- Fee Waiver Request (Form I-192)
How Much Does it Cost to Apply?
Temporary Protected Status applicants who submit documents for the first time should pay a $50 fee. Applicants who are 14 years old and older must pay an additional $85 for the biometrics services fee. All applicants should also file anEmployment Authorization Documentation, which costs $410.
Even if you don’t want or need Employment Authorization Documentation at the moment, you should apply for one. There is an option to submit a fee waiver request and avoid the payment of $410.
If you are inadmissible, you must apply for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, which costs $930. Again, you can request a fee waiver.
What Kind of Documents to Submit With Your TPS Application
Filing the basic TPS or Employment Authorization Documentation form is not enough to gain Temporary Protected Status. You must confirm your identity by submitting the following information:
- Proof of your nationality
- The date on which you’ve entered the United States
- Continuous residence in the United States
It is essential for the Employment Authorization Documentation and other forms to be in English. All applicants should prove that:
- They are competent in English and the language used in the initial TPS application
- The translation is correct
For more information on certain TPS documentation and evidence information, reach out to the USCIS contact center. You can also find the complete listing of documentation on the USCIS website.
Can You Apply for The Temporary Protected Status Program Online?
Since July 2021, TPS applicants can file applications online. However, this doesn’t apply to all designated countries.
Only eligible nationals of Yemen, Venezuela, Syria, Somalia, and Burma can file for the Temporary Protected Status Program online. Applications for TPS Haiti are also qualified to file their forms online. All other applicants and current TPS holders who are re-applying under the extension of TPS designations must continue to file paper
Is It Possible to File for the Temporary Protected Status Program After the Initial Registration Period?
USCIS allows applying for Temporary Protected Status for the first time during the automatic extension of your designation period. If you qualify to file late, you must still meet all eligibility requirements.
Most TPS holders can also send re-registration applications after the assigned period. However, TPS beneficiaries must submit a piece of evidence explaining their reason for filing late (family emergency, travel emergency, etc.). If you file the re-registration for Temporary Protected Status late without proof that supports your
actions, you’ll have gaps in your work authorization.
What Happens When USCIS Receives the Application?
Once USCIS receives your application, they will review the documents with help from the Congressional Research Service. TPS applicants who meet the requirements will receive an approval notice with a number to check their status online.
If USCIS rejects your application, you can re-file within the official registration period. However, when re-applying, it is essential to fix the errors from your previous form.
Every TPS applicant who is 14 or older must submit biometrics, including signature, photograph, and fingerprints. They are necessary for background checks, identity verification, and production of Employment Authorization Documentation. USCIS will send you a notice to submit the biometrics at the Application Support Center.
TPS Eligibility: Work Authorization
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services grant TPS work and travel authorization. They will review your application to establish whether the applicant is eligible to work. If USCIS finds you to be eligible, you will receive an automatic Employment Authorization Document.
If, for any reason, they deny your application and you want to appeal, you may request a review by an immigration judge. Your EAD will be automatically extended while you are waiting for the judge to review the documents. You can request an automatic extension by filing the I-765 form.
Automatic Extension of Employment Authorization
DHS can issue an automatic extension of expiring Employment Authorization documents for TPS holders of a specific country. As a result, TPS beneficiaries will have more time to gather the necessary documents and apply once the new validity dates are issued.
How to Maintain Your Temporary Protected Status
Individuals with TPS cannot be detained by the United States Department of Homeland Security based on his or her immigration status.
However, once you are into the Temporary Protected Status Program, it is vital to re-register during each official registration period to enjoy the benefits. You must also abide by the codes of Federal Regulations and obey the local laws. The rule applies to all TPS beneficiaries from Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua,
Burma, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
For those who want to travel outside the United States, it is essential to apply for travel authorization. TPS holders who travel without authorization risk losing their existing TPS privileges.
Were There Any Issues with TPS Beneficiaries in the Past?
In 2020, the District Court in California required DHS to enforce the decisions to cut off Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua. The case was under pending litigation until further resolution.
One year later, DHS announced a Federal Register notice, saying that TPS recipients will retain their Temporary Protected Status. According to the Federal Register notice, TPS holders from Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan will keep their benefits.
Individuals with granted travel authorization need to return to the United States until the specified period.
TPS Immigration: How Does Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Affect Your Immigration Status?
When you apply for Temporary Protected Status, you can still file for:
- Non-immigrant status
- Adjustment of status based on your petition
- Other immigration benefits
- Protection for which you are eligible
If one wants other immigration benefits, one must meet all requirements for those benefits. Applications for Temporary Protected Status don’t affect asylum applications, and other benefits don’t affect your ability to apply for TPS.
How to Protect Yourself When Applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
For some, the process of applying for the Temporary Protected Status program might be complex and time-consuming, so they ask for help. Unfortunately, some unauthorized websites and practitioners may try to take advantage of your situation by claiming they can help you file the forms. They will ask you to pay hefty fees to
file the application, but they will take the money and leave you with empty documents.
If you need help, it is better to obtain reliable and legitimate legal advice from secure websites and sources. Collaborating with an accredited legal representative or official government organization can help you understand the process and get all the necessary information to ensure a successful outcome.
The last thing you want is someone to trick you into getting a Temporary Protected Status and waste your time and money. So, before you talk to someone, ensure that person is authorized to give legal advice.
Obtain Temporary Protected Status and Make Your Dream Come True
At The Costas Network Law Center, we have a passion for helping people fighting to obtain Temporary Protected Status, current TPS holders, and immigrants who live in fear of being deported.
Whatever your story is, we can help. We understand you are going through a tough time in your life and need all the help you can find. Allow us to guide you through the complex legal process and ensure a happy ending for you and your family.
The Costas Network Law Center is here to help TPS holders re-register and eligible individuals to get into the TPS program. Contact us today at (216) 616-3103 or (346) 818-2726 to schedule a free consultation.