Temporary protected status (also called “TPS“) is a temporary immigration status to the United States, granted to eligible nationals of designated countries.
The U.S. government may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States.
The government may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
- An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible):
- Are not removable from the United States
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May be granted travel authorization
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, 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
Countries Currently Designated for TPS
- El Salvador
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
(Last updated Sep. 2016)
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.
You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:
- Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
- Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
- Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;
- Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
- Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
- If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.
There are thousands of people currently in the United States that have TPS and need to renew it every other year. If done incorrectly, TPS status could be lost, so it is important to do things correctly.