The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in that country that prevent citizens of the country from returning to their country temporarily safely. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts thereof) who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals who do not have nationality and whose last residence was the designated country, could also obtain TPS. Think of this as a kind of “travel insurance” to go to your home country.
The DHS secretary may designate a country to TPS due to the following temporary conditions:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war)
- A natural disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane) or epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
During the designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who have been preliminarily eligible for TPS during the initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible, or first-intention eligible):
- They will not be removed from the United States
- They can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- They can obtain a travel authorization.
Once granted TPS, a person will also not be able to be detained by DHS because of their immigration status in the United States.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or confer any other immigration status. However, registering for TPS does not prevent you from:
- Applying for Nonimmigrant Status
- Filing an Application for Adjustment of Status Based on an Immigrant Petition
- Applying for any other immigration benefits or protections for which you may be eligible.
Please note that in order to obtain any other immigration benefits you must meet all eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. An application to TPS does not affect an asylum application or any other immigration benefit, or vice versa. The denial of an asylum application or any other immigration benefit does not affect your ability to enroll in TPS, even though the grounds for denial of such an application could also lead to the denial of TPS.
The following countries are currently designated to apply for TPS: Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan , Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen
To be eligible for TPS, you must:
- Be a citizen of a country designated to TPS, or a person without nationality whose last habitual residence was in the designated country
- Apply during the initial enrollment or re-enrollment period, or meet the late application requirements during any extension of your country’s TPS designation. (First-time applicants and late registrants should see the ‘Late Application Submission’ section below)
- Have been physically present continuously (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of your country’s most recent designation date
- Have continuously resided (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country (see the TPS webpage for your country). The law allows an exception to the requirement of continuous physical presence and continuous residence for short, casual, and innocent departures outside the United States. When you apply for or re-enroll in TPS, you must inform USCIS of all your absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine if the exception applies to you.
You will NOT be eligible for TPS or to keep your current TPS if:
- Have been convicted of a crime or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States
- You are found inadmissible as an immigrant under the applicable grounds in section 212(a) of the INA, including criminal or security-related grounds for which there is no exemption.
- You are subject to any of the regulatory impediments to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the pursuit of another person or engaging in or initiating terrorist activity.
- Failure to meet the requirements of continuous physical presence or continuous residence in the United States; or
- If you are granted TPS, do not re-enroll in TPS as required, without good cause.
When you file an initial TPS application, you must submit:
- Evidence of Identity and Nationality: to prove your identity and that you are a national of a country designated to TPS (or that you have no nationality and your last habitual residence was in a country designated to TPS)
- Proof of Date of Entry: to prove when you entered the United States.
- Evidence of Continuous Residence (CR): to prove that you have been living in the United States since the date of continuous residence specified for your country
Evidence of Identity and Nationality
The following table explains the different types of evidence you can provide.
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your birth certificate, accompanied by photo IDENTIFICATION
- Any national identity document containing your photograph and fingerprints (or both), issued by your country, including those documents generated by your country’s Embassy or Consulate in the United States (such as a national identification card or certificate of naturalization).
If you have no primary evidence
If you do not have any of the primary evidence mentioned above, you must file an affidavit with:
- Evidence of unsuccessful efforts to obtain such documents; and
- An explanation about why consular processing for your country was not available to you, and your oath that you are a citizen of that country.
USCIS may interview you about your identity and nationality, and then you may also be able to present evidence of your nationality and identity, if available.
- Nationality documentation, such as a certificate of naturalization, even if you do not have your photograph and fingerprints
- Your baptismal certificate, if it indicates your nationality or the nationality of your parents
- Copies of your school records or medical records if they contain information that shows you are a citizen of a country designated for TPS
- Copies of other immigration documents showing your nationality and identity; or
- Affidavits from friends or family members who have their own knowledge of the date and place of their birth and the nationality of their parents. The person making the affidavit should include information about how they know or are related to you, and how they know the details about the date and place of your birth, as well as the nationality of your parents. The nationality of your parents is of great importance if you come from a country where the nationality is derived from a parent.
You may also provide any other documents or information that you understand will help you prove your nationality.
Please note that birth in a country designated for TPS does not always mean that you are a national of that country. For more information, please see the nationality laws of your TPS designated country.
Evidence of Date of Entry
- Copy of your passport
- Form I-94, Check-in/Check-Out; or
- Copies of the documents specified in the ‘Evidence of Continuous Residence’ section below.
Evidence of Continuous Residence
- Employment Records
- Rent receipts, utility invoices, receipts or letters from companies
- School records of U.S. schools you or your children have attended
- Hospital records or medical records related to the treatment or hospitalization of you or your children
- Statements from officials of your church, union, or other organization, who know you and know where you live.
There is a filing fee for Form I-821 if you are enrolling for the first time in TPS. There is no filing fee for Form I-821 to re-enroll in TPS.
Other associated fees, such as the biometric services fee, vary for initial enrollments and re-enrollments based on:
- Your age
- If you want an EAD; and
- If you need to apply for casual inadmissibility.
If you do not pay the correct fees (or submit an appropriate fee waiver request), Uscis may deny your request.
If you are unable to bear the costs associated with filing the form, you may include along with your application a fee waiver request, using Form I-912, Fee Waiver Request (or a handwritten application). USCIS has the power to accept or reject this request.
If you have questions about whether you or a family member is eligible for a Temporary Protected Status, you may call The Werner Law Group’s Immigration Department at 361-885-2883. This is a textable number where you may reach Marianela Velasquez. Se habla Español.