What is Temporary Protected Status?

Congress established temporary protected status (TPS) as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. Its purpose is to provide humanitarian relief to citizens whose countries suffer from natural disasters, protracted unrest, or conflict.

The Secretary of Homeland Security can designate a foreign country with TPS. Apart from conditions temporarily preventing nationals from returning safely, it can also be assigned if the country cannot handle the return of its citizens adequately.

Conditions generally relate to:

  • Ongoing armed conflicts like Ukraine
  • Environmental disaster or epidemic
  • Other extraordinary but temporary conditions

Once granted TPS status, DHS cannot remove an individual from the United States. In addition, they can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD), allowing them to work here. They may also gain travel authorization.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cannot detain TPS holders based on their immigration status. Moreover, recipients can reside in the United States for up to 18 months. However, they can renew that timeframe indefinitely.

If you're eligible for temporary protected status, talk to an immigration lawyer in our Doylestown and Norristown law offices.

Filing for TPS

You can register using Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. When filing, you must submit identity and nationality evidence, evidence of your U.S. entry date, and CR evidence.

Application fees for an initial TPS application start at $50 for those younger than 14. However, they can cost as much as $545 for applicants 14-65 requesting an EAD. Fees are lower if you're re-registering for temporary protected status.

Steps to Apply for TPS

You can find out when and where to file below by clicking on your country of origin. The application process involves these steps:

  1. File your petition.
  2. USCIS receives your application.
  3. USCIS contacts you if it needs to collect your photograph, signature, or fingerprints. Every TPS applicant over 14 must have these items collected.
  4. Go to the Application Support Center (ASC) and provide these documents:
    1. Evidence of nationality and photograph
    2. Receipt notice
    3. ASC appointment notice
    4. EAD, if you have one
  5. USCIS determines your work eligibility.
  6. USCIS reviews your application.
  7. USCIS approves or denies your application.

If denied, you can appeal the decision. If granted, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain your benefits. Occasionally, DHS issues a blanket, automatic extension of expiring EADs.

Again, feel free to contact our immigration lawyers, especially if the USCIS denies your application.

Eligibility Requirements for Temporary Protected Status

TPS beneficiaries must meet these requirements.

First, you must be a national of a country designated with temporary protected status. However, even without nationality, you can receive TPS status if you live in a defined country for extended periods.

Second, you must file during the initial registration period. Otherwise, you must meet the requirements for late filing.

Third, you must be continuously physically present (CPP) in the U.S. since the effective date of your country's designation date.

And finally, you had to continuously reside (CR) in the United States since the TPS date specified for your country. When applying for temporary protected status, you must inform the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of all absences from here since the CPP and CR dates.

If you need help applying for TPS, talk to one of the immigration lawyers.

What Countries Have TPS?

Here's a current list of countries owning TPS. You can click on the country for specific information about each, including when and where to file your application.

Where Do TPS Holders Live?

The largest populations of TPS holders reside in these states:

  • California (17.95%)
  • Florida (13.75%)
  • Texas (12.88%)
  • New York (12.33%)
  • Virginia (6.75%)

Each has at least 10,000, including New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Indiana.

You can view this map to see where TPS holders reside.

What Happens When TPS Expires?

Although there are exceptions, typically, once TPS expires, you return to your prior immigration status. Equally important, it's a temporary benefit and doesn't automatically lead to permanent residence or U.S. citizenship.

Once your TPS expires, you must leave the country unless you have another legal alternative. That's true regardless of your time in the U.S., work history, education, or other considerations.

Alternatives include work visas (H, L, or O), F-1, or J-1 student visas. You can also get a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). You should consult with an immigration lawyer to determine if alternative options for immigration exist.

Note that your work permit is valid until its expiration date. So, if your TPS expires, but you're eligible to re-register, DHS may extend your EAD.

Several lawsuits challenging TPS are pending. For instance, the court's preliminary injunctions have blocked its termination for Haiti, Honduras, and Nepal. As a result, TPS holders in countries subject to litigation retain TPS status, pending the outcome.

Need Help with Temporary Protected Status?

If you're seeking TPS but have concerns about the process, talk to an immigration lawyer at our firm. We've helped prominent organizations with TPS holder hires and work visa sponsorships.

High Swartz has law offices in Doylestown, PA, and Norristown, PA. However, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.

Besides immigration legal services, we offer specialized business law, workers' compensation, employment law, and litigation services.