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FAQ: Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an immigration benefit granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to eligible individuals in the United States who are nationals of a country (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in such country) that has been designated for TPS. A country may be designated for TPS on the basis of on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent such nationals from safely returning to their homelands. An individual can apply for TPS through Form I-182, Application for Temporary Protected Status.

Being granted TPS allows an individual to:

  • Work in the United States and apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
  • Apply for a travel authorization; and
  • Not be removed from the United States.

How do I find out if I am 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.

What countries are currently designated for TPS?

Per the USCIS website, the following countries are currently designated for TPS: Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Cameroon, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.

How do I apply for TPS?

To register or re-register for TPS, you must file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Listed below is the necessary evidence you must provide in your TPS application:

  • 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.

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.

Additionally, USCIS suggests submitting primary evidence with your application. If you cannot submit primary evidence of your identity and nationality, you may submit the secondary evidence listed below with your application.

Primary Evidence

  • A copy of your passport;
  • A copy of your birth certificate, accompanied by photo identification;  and/or
  • Any national identity document bearing your photograph and/or fingerprint  issued by your country, including documents issued by your country’s Embassy or Consulate in the United States, such as a national ID card or naturalization certificate.

No Primary Evidence

If you do not have any of the primary evidence listed above, you must submit an affidavit with:

  • Proof of your unsuccessful efforts to obtain such documents; and
  • An explanation why the consular process for your country was unavailable to you, and affirming that you are a national of your country.

USCIS may interview you regarding your identity and nationality, and you may also submit additional evidence of your nationality and identity then, if available.

Secondary Evidence

  • Nationality documentation, such as a naturalization certificate, even if it does not have your photograph and fingerprint;
  • Your baptismal certificate if it indicates your nationality or a parent’s nationality;
  • Copies of your school or medical records if they have information supporting your claim that you are a national from a country designated for TPS;
  • Copies of other immigration documents showing your nationality and identity; or
  • Affidavits from friends or family members who have close personal knowledge of the date and place of your birth and your parents’ nationality. The person making the affidavit should include information about how he or she knows you or is related to you, and how he or she knows the details of the date and place of your birth and the nationality of your parents. The nationality of your parents is important if you are from a country where nationality is derived from a parent.

Do I have to list every country I lived in before coming to the United States or only those I visited in the time between leaving my home country and my last entry to the United States?

You should list all countries you entered while traveling to the United States, including countries where you lived as well as those through which you traveled. On Form I-821, Part 11, Additional Information, you may provide the dates when you were in those countries and any immigration status you had while in those countries.

What are the expected processing times for Form I-182

Processing times vary depending on how complicated a case is. However, per the USCIS website, these approximate times generally apply:

  • Form I-182, Application for Temporary Protected Status: approximately 6 months
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: approximately 3 months
  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document: approximately 6 months

What proof of my TPS status will I receive? 

If USCIS approves your initial TPS application, they will send you an approval notice with an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, which is evidence of your TPS. If you filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and you did not receive an EAD before this step, USCIS will also send you an EAD.

Does TPS take effect on the date USCIS approves the application or the date USCIS receives it?

TPS takes effect on the date USCIS approves your Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.

When a family is applying for TPS, do you recommend that every family member apply simultaneously?

TPS is an individual benefit, and family members cannot derive TPS because their spouse or parent receives TPS. Family members may each apply for TPS on their own individual applications either simultaneously or at different time, but each individual must meet the eligibility criteria for TPS independently. USCIS encourages each family member to file their own application with a separate payment.

Does TPS lead to a lawful permanent resident (LPR) status?

No. Although TPS does not lead to LPR status or give any other immigration status, 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

If you have any questions about applying for TPS, contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.