Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of humanitarian relief which applies to certain nationals of particular countries who were present in the US during a designated period of time.
For example, if there is war or an environmental disaster occurring in your country, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may decide to grant certain nationals of your country TPS in the US. On this page, we explain how to get a work card and a travel permit under TPS.
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Persons granted TPS cannot be deported from the US, are eligible to apply for an EAD work permit and may be granted an Advance Parole travel permit.
In 2017 and 2018, the DHS announced the end of TPS for a number of countries. However, on March 1, 2019, in order to comply with an injunction granted by a Federal Court, the USCIS announced that beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador will retain their TPS while the preliminary injunction remains in effect, provided that an individual’s TPS is not withdrawn under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 244(c)(3) or 8 CFR 244.14 because of ineligibility.
USCIS also announced that EAD work permits granted to these TPS individuals would be automatically extended to January 2, 2020.
Although TPS is a temporary benefit which does not automatically lead to a green card, if you are eligible, you are not prohibited from applying for permanent residence, temporary visa status or any other immigration status.
Here is what the USCIS website says about TPS:
The Secretary of Homeland Security 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. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.
The Secretary 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 facieeligible):
- 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
PLEASE NOTE: To be granted any other immigration benefit you must still meet all the eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. An application for TPS does not affect an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit and vice versa. Denial of an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit does not affect your ability to register for TPS, although the grounds of denial of that application may also lead to denial of TPS.
Government TPS Resources by Country
- El Salvador
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
Temporary Protected Status: Additional Resources
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (USCIS)
- How do I Apply for Temporary Protected Status (USCIS)
- TPS El Salvador EADs Listing a September 9, 2019 Expiration Date Remain Valid through January 2, 2020
Practice Advisories Regarding Temporary Protected Status
- Court Decisions Ensure TPS Holders in Sixth and Ninth Circuits May Become Permanent Residents (09-11-17)
Temporary Protected Status: AAO Decisions
- USCIS Policy Memo: Matter of H-G-G- (Adopted AAO Precedent Decision re: TPS, July 31, 2019)
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Temporary Protected Status
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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