Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a designation that the Secretary of the Homeland Security may use when a foreign country’s conditions prevent the country’s nationals, living in the US, from returning safely or where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. As its name implies, the designation is given to a country due to temporary conditions, such as:
– Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war);
– An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane) or an epidemic; or
– Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
TPS is a temporary benefit that affords eligible individuals the following benefits during a designated period of time:
– Cannot be detained by ICE and removed from the US (while individual remains in TPS);
– Can obtain employment authorization (EAD); and
– May be granted authorization to travel outside the US (Advance Parole).
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to a green card (lawful permanent resident status), however individuals who have been granted TPS cannot be prevented from:
– Applying for a nonimmigrant visa status;
– Filing for adjustment of status (green card) based on other eligibility factors; or
– Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection, for which they qualify for independently of TPS.
To be eligible for TPS an individual:
– Must be a national of a country designated for TPS;
– Must file during the initial registration or re-registration period;
– Must have been continuously physically present in the US since the effective date of the country’s most recent TPS designation;
– Must have been continuously residing in the US since the date specified for the country;
– Cannot have suffered a conviction for any felony or two (2) or more misdemeanors;
– Cannot be inadmissible under INA § 212(a); and
– Cannot be subject to mandatory bar for asylum eligibility.
Termination of TPS for Designated Countries
TPS for Nicaragua, was designated on January 5, 1999, due to devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch. On November 6, 2017, TPS for Nicaragua was terminated, effective January 5, 2019. Individuals who already have TPS must re-register by February 13, 2018, in order to maintain their TPS.
TPS for Honduras was designated on January 5, 1999, due to devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch. On November 6, 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security was unable to make a determination whether to terminate TPS for Honduras. As a result, TPS for Honduras was automatically extended to July 5, 2018, to allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to perform additional fact finding, prior to making a decision to terminate TPS for Honduras.
TPS for El Salvador was designated on March 9, 2001, due to a series of earthquakes that occurred in early 2001. On January 8, 2018, TPS for El Salvador was terminated, effective September 9, 2019. TPS for El Salvador is currently valid until March 9, 2018. Prior to March 9, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security must publish information regarding the final re-registration period for El Salvador.
TPS for Haiti was designated on January 21, 2010, due to a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010. On November 20, 2017, TPS for Haiti was terminated, effective July 22, 2019. TPS for Haiti is currently valid until January 22, 2018. Prior to January 22, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security must publish information regarding the final re-registration period for Haiti.
TPS remains in effect for Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, while TPS for Sudan was terminated on September 18, 2017, effective November 2, 2018.
Steps to Take to Re-Register for TPS
For affected countries, foreign nationals must re-register for TPS with USCIS, by filing Form I-821 and paying $85, prior to the designated re-registration period for their county. Failure to timely re-registration, will result in loss of status, at which time ICE has the authority to detain and place those individuals in removal proceedings or remove them from the US, depending on their prior immigration history. In accordance with USCIS policy, an application for re-registration is timely filed once it is received by USCIS by the designated deadline. Failure on the part of the US Postal Service or a private courier to timely deliver an application to USCIS, does not excuse an applicant’s failure to comply with a designated deadline.
Individuals who require work authorization must file Form I-765 and pay $410 for USCIS to re-issue them a valid EAD during their final TPS designation. Currently, USCIS is taking up to 180 days to process requests for EAD, as a result USCIS is auto-extending TPS holders’ expired EAD’s for 180 days, if an applicant timely re-registered for TPS and submitted Form I-765.