Temporary Protected Status
What is 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 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
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.
Countries Currently Designated for TPS
Select the country link for additional specific country information.
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 (Late initial filers see ‘Filing Late’ section below);
- 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. (See your country’s TPS web page to the left). The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.
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.
What to File
You must include the necessary forms, evidence, fees, or fee waiver request when filing your TPS application. Below is information about what you must include in your TPS package. Please also check your country’s specific TPS page to the left to see if there are any special filing instructions specific to your TPS-designated country.
To register or re-register for TPS you must file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Eligible nationals of Burma, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela or Yemen, or individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in those countries, can now file Form I-821 online, if they are applying for TPS for the first time.
When filing an initial TPS application or re-registering for TPS, you can also request an employment authorization document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, at the time of filing Form I-821. You may also file your Form I-765 request separately at a later date. Filing Form I-821 with Form I-765 may help you receive your EAD more promptly if you are eligible. If you are eligible to file Form I-821 online, you may also file Form I-765 online if filing concurrently.
When you apply, if you are aware that a relevant ground of inadmissibility applies to you and you need a waiver to obtain TPS, please include a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, with your TPS application package. However, you do not need to file a new Form I-601 for an incident that USCIS has already waived with a prior TPS application. USCIS may grant a waiver of certain inadmissibility grounds for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is in the public interest.
These forms are free and available on the forms section of the USCIS website at: www.uscis.gov/forms.
When filing an initial TPS application, you must submit:
- Identity and Nationality Evidence: to demonstrate your identity and that you are a national of a country designated for TPS (or that you have no nationality and you last habitually resided in a country designated for TPS).
- Date of Entry Evidence: to demonstrate when you entered the United States.
- Continuous Residence (CR) Evidence: to demonstrate that you have been in the United States since the CR date specified for your country (see your country’s TPS web page to the left).
Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. The translator must certify that:
- He or she is competent both in English and the foreign language used in the original document; and
- The translation is true and correct to the best of his or her ability, knowledge, and belief.
Identity and Nationality Evidence
We encourage you to submit primary evidence (see below), if available. If USCIS does not find the document(s) you submit with your application to be sufficient, we will send you a request for additional evidence. If you cannot submit primary evidence of your identity and nationality, you may submit the secondary evidence listed below with your application.
The following table explains the different types of evidence you can provide.
|No Primary Evidence||
If you do not have any of the primary evidence listed above, you must submit an affidavit with:
USCIS may interview you regarding your identity and nationality, and you may also submit additional evidence of your nationality and identity then, if available.
You may also provide any other document or information that you believe helps prove your nationality.
PLEASE NOTE: Birth in a TPS-designated country does not always mean you are a national of that country. Please see your TPS-designated country’s nationality laws for further information.
Date of Entry Evidence
- A copy of your passport;
- I-94 Arrival/Departure Record; or
- Copies of documents specified in the “Continuous Residence (CR) Evidence” section below.
Continuous Residence (CR) Evidence
- Employment records;
- Rent receipts, utility bills, receipts or letters from companies;
- School records from the schools that you or your children have attended in the U.S.;
- Hospital or medical records concerning treatment or hospitalization of you or your children; or
- Attestations by church, union or other organization officials who know you and where you have been residing.
Please see Form I-821 instructions for more details on acceptable evidence.
There is a fee for Form I-821 if you are registering for TPS for the first time. There is no fee for Form I-821 if you are re-registering for TPS.
Other related fees, such as the biometrics services fee, vary for initial registrations and re-registrations depending on:
- Your age;
- If you want an EAD; and
- If you need to request a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility.
Please review the form instructions carefully before applying. Read the Filing Fee and Special Instructions sections on the Form I-821 web page. These sections explain what fees to pay. Refer to the chart under Special Instructions for fee information. If you do not pay the proper fees (or submit a proper fee waiver request), your application will be rejected.
If you cannot afford the costs associated with the TPS filing, please make sure to include a fee waiver request on Form I-912, Application for Fee Waiver (or other written request). For more information about filing a fee waiver request, visit the webpages on Form I-912 and on Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver.
If you are filing an initial application and USCIS denies your fee waiver request, you may re-file and pay the correct fees either before the registration deadline or within 45 days of the date on the fee waiver denial notice, whichever is later.
If you are filing a re-registration application and USCIS denies your fee waiver request on or before the re-registration deadline, we recommend that you re-file and pay the correct fees before the re-registration deadline . If you are unable to file before the re-registration deadline, you may still re-file after the deadline and this will be reviewed under good cause for late re-registration.
When and Where to File
For information about when and where you must file your TPS application, please see the country specific pages to the left.
Step 1: File Your Petition
Once you have prepared your TPS package with the forms, evidence and filing fees (or request for a fee waiver), you will need to send it to the address indicated on your TPS country page to the left. Please make sure you sign your application and include the correct fee amount (or fee waiver request). These are the two of the most common mistakes USCIS receives on TPS applications. Please look above at the fee chart to see what fees you must pay (a properly documented fee waiver request may be submitted). If you do not pay the proper fees (or submit a proper fee waiver request), your application will be rejected.
Step 2: USCIS Receives Your Application
When USCIS receives your application, we will review it for completeness and for the proper fees or a properly documented fee waiver request. If your case meets the basic acceptance criteria, your application will be entered into our system and we will send you a receipt notice. At the top of this notice you will find a receipt number which can be used to check the status of your case online.
If you do not receive your receipt notice within three weeks of filing, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request assistance. If your application is rejected at the initial review stage, you may re-file within the registration period after correcting the problems described in the USCIS notification.
If your application was rejected because we determined you were not eligible for a fee waiver, you may submit a new TPS package. Go to the ‘Fee Waiver’ section above for more information.
Step 3: USCIS Contacts You
If USCIS needs to collect your photograph, signature, and/or fingerprints (these are called biometrics), USCIS will send you an appointment notice to have your biometrics captured at an Application Support Center (ASC). Every TPS applicant over 14 years old must have their biometrics collected. Biometrics are required for identity verification, background checks and the production of an EAD, if one has been requested.
In certain situations, such as when it’s impossible to take a fingerprint, USCIS can waive the collection of biometrics. In some cases, we may be able to reuse the biometrics previously collected in association with your previous TPS application. Even if you do not need to attend an ASC appointment, you still need to pay the biometrics fee (if required) to help cover costs associated with reusing your biometrics.
Step 4: Go to the ASC
When you report to an ASC, you must bring:
- Evidence of nationality and identity with a photograph of you, such as a passport
- Your receipt notice
- Your ASC appointment notice
- Your current EAD, if you already have one
If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, you may reschedule. To reschedule an ASC appointment, make a copy of your appointment notice to retain for your records, then mail the original notice with your rescheduling request to the ASC address listed on the notice. You should submit your request for rescheduling as soon as you know you have an unavoidable conflict on your scheduled ASC date. A new appointment notice will be sent to you by mail. Please note that rescheduling a biometrics appointment may cause the adjudication of your application to be delayed.
If you need an accommodation due to a disability that affects your ability to go to the ASC, please go to the Disability Accommodations for the Public webpage for more information.
WARNING: If you fail to appear for your ASC appointment without rescheduling, or if you repeatedly miss scheduled ASC appointments, your TPS application could be denied for abandonment.
If there is an emergency need for you to travel abroad for humanitarian reasons, you may request expedited processing on your advance parole application (Form I-131) after you have appeared at an ASC for your biometrics appointment. Please see the travel section below for more information.
Step 5: USCIS Determines Work Eligibility
If you are not seeking an employment authorization document (EAD), skip to Step 6.
|If you are...||Then...|
|Applying for TPS for the first time and seeking an EAD||USCIS will review your case to determine whether you are eligible to work before we make a final decision on your TPS application. If you are found to be eligible upon initial review of your TPS application (prima facie eligible) you will receive an EAD.
Note: If your application is denied and you choose to appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or request review of your application by an immigration judge, your EAD will be extended while you are waiting for a decision. If your EAD expires, to request an extension of your EAD, you must file a Form I-765 along with evidence of your appeal to the AAO or that you have requested an immigration judge to review your TPS application.
|Re-Registering for TPS and seeking an EAD||You will receive your new EAD when your entire TPS package is adjudicated.|
USCIS makes every effort to avoid backlogs at this step, but we urge you to remember that USCIS may experience a higher volume of applications in the first few months of a registration period.
Step 6: USCIS Adjudicates the Application
During this phase, we may ask you for additional documents to establish your eligibility for TPS. If you receive a request for evidence (RFE) or a notice of intent to deny, it is extremely important that you respond immediately to avoid processing delays and possible denial for failure to timely respond. Upon completion of your case, USCIS will notify you if your request for TPS is granted or denied. If one of the waivable grounds of inadmissibility applies to you, USCIS will give you an opportunity to submit a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility if you did not include this with your TPS package. Please submit this form within the time frame specified in the USCIS notice, or your case will be denied.
Step 7: USCIS Approves or Denies the Application
|If your application for TPS is…||Then…|
|Approved and you filed an initial application||USCIS will send you an approval notice and an EAD, if you requested one and haven’t received it before this step.|
|Approved and you filed a re-registration application||
USCIS will send you an approval notice if you do not request an EAD.
|Denied||USCIS will send you a letter indicating the reason for your denial and, if applicable, provide you with the opportunity to appeal the denial.|
Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits. This applies to all TPS beneficiaries, including those who were initially granted by USCIS, an Immigration Judge, or the BIA. Follow the instructions above to apply for re-registration.
Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension
Sometimes DHS must issue a blanket automatic extension of the expiring EADs for TPS beneficiaries of a specific country in order to allow time for EADs with new validity dates to be issued. If your country’s EADs have been automatically extended, it will be indicated on your country specific pages to the left.
Late Re-Registration for TPS
USCIS may accept a late re-registration application if you have good cause for filing after the end of the re-registration period of your country. You must submit a letter that explains your reason for filing late with your re-registration application.
If you file your TPS re-registration application late, processing may be delayed and can lead to gaps in your work authorization.
Late Initial Filing for TPS
You can apply for TPS for the first time during an extension of your country’s TPS designation period. If you qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must still independently meet all the TPS eligibility requirements listed in the Eligibility section above.
To qualify to file your initial TPS application late, you must meet at least one of the late initial filing conditions below:
- During either the initial registration period of your country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if your country was re-designated you met one of the following conditions, and you register while the condition still exists or within a 60-day period immediately following the expiration or termination of such condition
- You were a nonimmigrant, were granted voluntary departure status, or any relief from removal
- You had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal which was pending or subject to further review or appeal
- You were a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole
- You are a spouse of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS
- During either the initial registration period of your country’s designation or during any subsequent initial registration period if your country was re-designated you were a child of an individual who is currently eligible for TPS. There is no time limitation on filing if you meet this condition. So if your parent is currently eligible for TPS and you were his or her child (unmarried and under 21 years old) at any time during a TPS initial registration period for your country, you may still be eligible for late initial filing even if you are now over 21 years old or married. You may file during an extension of your TPS designated country.
Please check your country-specific web page for the dates of the initial registration period or periods that apply for late initial filing.
PLEASE NOTE: You cannot obtain TPS as a derivative because your parent or child has TPS.
If you have TPS and wish to travel outside the United States, you must apply for travel authorization. Travel authorization for TPS is issued as an advance parole document if USCIS determines it is appropriate to approve your request. This document gives you permission to leave the United States and return during a specified period of time. To apply for advance parole, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. If you are filing Form I-131 together with Form I-821, send your forms to the address listed on the linked page above for your country. If you are filing Form I-131 separately based on a pending or approved Form I-821, check the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131 page.
If you leave the United States without requesting advance parole, you may lose TPS and you may not be permitted to re-enter the United States.
If USCIS is still adjudicating your TPS application, you may miss important USCIS notices, such as Requests for Additional Evidence, while you are outside the U.S. Failure to respond to these requests may result in the denial of your application.
We encourage you to read and understand the travel warning on Form I-131 before requesting advance parole, even if you have been granted TPS. If you have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for any period of time, you may want to seek legal advice before requesting advance parole for travel.
Change of Address
If your address changes after you file your application, you must notify USCIS immediately. For information about how to notify USCIS go to www.uscis.gov/addresschange.
TPS Granted by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals
Step 1: If an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) granted you TPS, you must provide USCIS with proof of the TPS grant (such as a final order from the IJ or final decision from the BIA) when you file for your first TPS benefit (such as an EAD, travel authorization, or with your first TPS re-registration application filed with USCIS). You should also submit a copy of the I-821 TPS application that the IJ or the BIA approved.
Step 2: See the table below for filing information based on the first TPS benefit you are requesting after an IJ or BIA granted you TPS.
|If the first TPS benefit you are requesting is...||Then you must...||And...|
|Your first EAD,||File Form I-765 only with required fee(s) or fee waiver request. You must also submit a cover sheet that states "DO NOT REJECT - TPS GRANTED BY IJ/BIA."||Send your Form I-765 to the mailing address on your country specific page to the left.|
|Travel Authorization||File Form I-131 with required fee||Send your Form I-131 to the mailing address noted on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131 page.|
|Your first re-registration
NOTE: Even if you were granted TPS by an IJ or the BIA, you must re-register with USCIS during each future extension period for your country.
File Form I-821 and Form I-765 with required fee(s) or a fee waiver request. See re-registration instructions above.
|Send your TPS package to the mailing address on your country specific page to the left.|
Appealing a Denial
If USCIS denies your application, you will be informed in the denial notice whether you have 30 days to appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). If you do not have the right to appeal because you were placed in removal proceedings when your TPS application was denied by USCIS, you can request that the immigration judge adjudicate your TPS application.
You may also choose to file a motion to reconsider with the Service Center that adjudicated your TPS application by submitting:
- Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion
- The correct filing fee, see form instructions (PDF, 257.7 KB). Or Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver (or written request) if you are unable to pay
If USCIS denies your TPS application, we recommend that you consult with an accredited legal representative to determine whether you should pursue an appeal or motion. If you have been placed in removal proceedings, you may request that the immigration judge adjudicate your TPS application. If an immigration judge denies your request for TPS, you may file an appeal with the BIA.
Countries Previously Designated for TPS
Other Immigration Options
You might be eligible for other immigration options listed on the Explore My Options page.
To apply for a lawful permanent status (Green Card), you must be eligible under one of the categories listed on the Green Card Eligibility Categories page. Once you find the category that may fit your situation, click on the link provided to get information on eligibility requirements, how to apply, and whether your family members can also apply with you.
Note on Seeking Asylum: Being granted and maintaining TPS status until a reasonable period before the filing of the asylum application is considered an extraordinary circumstance for the purposes of the one year filing deadline. In other words, having TPS status “stops the clock” on the requirement to file for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States, if the one-year clock has not already expired. See 8 CFR 208.4(a)(5)(iv).
Please be aware that some unauthorized practitioners may try to take advantage of you by claiming they can file TPS forms. These same individuals may ask that you pay them to file such forms. We want to ensure that all potential TPS applicants know how to obtain legitimate, accurate legal advice and assistance. A list of accredited representatives and free or low-cost legal providers is available on the USCIS website on the finding legal advice web page.
We don’t want you to become a victim of an immigration scam. If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorized to give legal advice. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Department of Justice (DOJ) recognized organization can give you legal advice. Visit the Avoid Scams page for information and resources.
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- I-912, Request for Fee Waiver
- I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility
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