What is TPS, and Might I be Eligible?

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TPS, or Temporary Protected Status was created by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. TPS provides immigration status to nationals of certain designated countries, but as the name implies, the status is temporary. The duration of TPS status usually ranges from 6 to 12 and 18-month intervals, and may be extended. The final decision to determine whether a country meets the standards of a TPS designation relies on the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Grounds for Assigning TPS

TPS designations are assigned based on a country having met existing conditions that severely threaten the public safety of its returning nationals. These conditions include: (1) ongoing armed conflict, (2) natural disasters (including epidemics, pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis), or (3) other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely.

Countries currently designated for TPS

• Burma (Myanmar)
• El Salvador
• Honduras
• Nicaragua
• Sudan
• Syria
• Venezuela

• Cameroon
• Haiti
• Nepal
• Somalia
• South Sudan
• Ukraine
• Yemen

What TPS Provides

TPS allows an individual a temporary block from deportation for the duration of the time their home country has the TPS designation. For the same time period, individuals who apply for TPS are also given an option to seek employment authorization as long as they continue to meet the requirements of TPS. The employment authorization is optional, and an individual can apply for it with the original application or at a later date as long as they still have TPS or have a TPS application pending. The ability to travel abroad is also a TPS benefit, but requires a separate application.

It is important to note that TPS is not a path to citizenship.

Who is eligible for TPS

As mentioned before, TPS is granted only to certain qualified nationals and individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country and are already living in the United States. Individuals must also meet particular requirements for their presence in the United States, must not have committed certain crimes, and must not pose a threat to US national security.

As stated above, TPS duration may be extended from the initial 6 -18-month time frame. Currently, there are no limits on the number of extensions that can be executed. Once an extension is made, each person that holds TPS is also eligible to have their status extended to the new date.

Applying for TPS:

Even though a country may be assigned TPS, it is important to note that nationals of TPS countries who reside in the United States are not automatically given the benefits of TPS. Individuals must register for TPS with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). There are specific forms that need to be filed with USCIS, including work authorization, and possible advance parole documents that will allow the national to leave the United States and travel overseas. The person applying for TPS must prove that they are a national or a habitual resident of a TPS designated country, and they must also prove entry into the United States. Additional supporting documents to confirm that the person meets the guidelines for presence within the United States may also be necessary.

Keep in mind that USCIS sets initial registration deadlines for each TPS country. It is important to know these dates to ensure that the TPS application is filed in time, and that an opportunity is not missed.

We are experienced in handling TPS cases and are available to assist with any stage of the application process.

Kisshia Simmons
Senior Associate







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