Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an immigration status granted to nationals of specific countries on a time-restricted, temporary basis. The nationals of those countries are experiencing problems making it unsafe for them to be deported back to their home countries. Due to TPS, the United States has been a safe haven to hundreds of thousands of individuals already in the U.S. when a difficult situation in their home country makes their departure or deportation untenable.
TPS designation is decided by the Secretary of Homeland Security
The Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status, when the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS grants Temporary Protected Status to eligible nationals of certain countries, who are already in the United States.
Also, individuals without nationality who last resided in those countries may be granted TPS.
When is a country designated for TPS?
The Secretary of Homeland Security will designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
- Environmental disaster (like an earthquake or a hurricane), or an epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
Individuals must been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of their country to TPS
TPS is for a limited time. Here is what it means:
Individuals who are beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status 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 apply for an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May get permission to travel outside the United States
Once granted Temporary Protected Status, a person cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.
Can TPS beneficiaries lose their status?
People who have TPS must renew their applications in time or they will lose their status. They can also lose this status due to convictions of crimes.
While the US Citizenship & Immigration Services has initial jurisdiction over TPS applications, the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals can review denials of TPS.
Currently, residents of the following countries are eligible for TPS:
- Burma (Myanmar)
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
TPS is a time limited benefit that does not lead to any other status like lawful permanent residency or any other immigration status. Registration for Temporary Protected Status allows you to:
- Apply for nonimmigrant status
- File for an immigrant petition like adjustment of status
- Apply for other immigration benefits or protection for which you may be eligible
To be granted any other immigration benefit you must still meet all the eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. An application for Temporary Protected Status does not affect any other application e.g., for asylum or other immigration benefits. Denial of any other application e.g., for asylum or another immigration benefit does not affect your ability to register for Temporary Protected Status.