How to apply for TPS. Illustration.
Shelle-Ann Simon

Shelle-Ann Simon

How to apply for TPS in the United States: a guide for immigrants

Looking to immigrate to the US? Learn how to apply for TPS or Temporary Protected Status to see if you qualify for its benefits.

There are many reasons behind the decision to emigrate to another country. For a lot of people, it means a potential escape from political persecution, economical instability, wars, or even natural disasters. Luckily, the United States offers a special migratory benefit that applies to certain countries where extraordinary circumstances make it difficult for their citizens to survive.

This immigration benefit, called Temporary Protected Status or TPS is assigned by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when it considers that returning to the country in question is dangerous. If your country is going through some of these scenarios, learning how to apply for TPS in order to immigrate to the United States can be lifesaving.

How does the TPS work?

If the DHS considers that returning to your country of origin remains dangerous due to any of these previously mentioned circumstances, it can grant a TPS. This means that citizens of that country who are in the United States at the time the designation is granted by DHS will be able to apply for this status and remain on American soil for the duration of the designation.

Having TPS confers the following benefits to a person: they cannot be removed from the United States, they can obtain employment authorization, and apply for travel authorization. At the time TPS is assigned, the Secretary of DHS determines the effective period.

This can be six, twelve, or eighteen months. Before the designation expires, the secretary must decide whether or not to renew it, after evaluating the situation in the designated foreign country. His decision must be made before the term expires, no later than 60 days before the expiration date of the TPS.

Depending on the particular circumstances of each country, the TPS designation can extend for years or even decades. However, at the end of the designation period, people with TPS will return to their immigration status prior to obtaining the benefit, unless it has expired. They can, however, obtain another legal immigration status during the period in which they have TPS and thus guarantee their permanence in the country beyond the term of designation.

Countries with Temporary Protected Status in 2022

Currently, there are 15 countries that have been assigned TPS. These are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Cameroon
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

Who can apply for TPS?

Citizens of the designated countries or non-nationals who have one of those countries as their last habitual residence can apply for Temporary Protected Status. Remember that TPS can only be requested by those who are residing in the United States and are physically present in the country prior to or from the date of designation of the TPS they are requesting.

It is possible to file a TPS application late, but the applicant must show that he has good cause for doing so. USCIS, the agency that receives and processes applications, will decide whether or not to accept a late application.

Additionally, USCIS may make an exception to the continuous stay requirement if the applicant was briefly, causally, and innocently absent from the United States, but only if USCIS is informed of this. They will evaluate the case and decide whether to grant the exception or not.

How to apply for TPS in the United States

To apply for TPS you must meet these basic eligibility requirements that we just mentioned. If you qualify for TPS, you must submit a series of documents to USCIS for them to evaluate your application and grant you Temporary Protected Status.

The first thing USCIS will ask you to do is fill out form I-821, which is the application for Temporary Protected Status. This can be presented in person or online. If you want employment authorization, be sure to file Form I-765 jointly (either in person or online). You can do it at a later date, but it is best to do it simultaneously.

Make sure you are admissible to the United States before you apply. If you are inadmissible, you can still file, but you will also need to file Form I-601 to get a waiver of inadmissibility. Remember that most of these procedures have fees and that you must pay them in a timely manner for USCIS to receive and process your applications.

You can request a fee waiver if you have special circumstances, but you will need to make the request at the time you submit your petition.

Submit all the necessary evidence

When you file form I-821 you must also present evidence that verifies that you are eligible to apply for TPS. You first need evidence of your identity and nationality, to show that you are from a TPS country (or a non-national whose last residence was a TPS country) and that you are using credible credentials.

Second, evidence of your date of entry into the United States, to show that your date of entry into the country qualifies you to apply for TPS. Third and last, evidence of continuous residence in the United States, showing that you are living on American soil as of the date required for the TPS you are applying for.

Remember that if you submit non-English documents as evidence, you must submit a full translation of each document certified by a qualified translator.

How to apply for TPS. Illustration.
Terremoto en Nepal en 2015.

How to apply for TPS renewal and work permission

Just as it is important to submit your TPS application in a timely manner, you must take care to submit the renewal of your TPS and work authorization, if you have it, within the stipulated deadlines to do so. The USCIS website has detailed information on the deadlines established for each country with TPS.

If USCIS accepts your application, they will send you an acknowledgment of receipt. This does not mean that you have been granted TPS, but rather that you meet the basic criteria. If they need to take your biometric data, they will summon you to an Application Assistance Center.

USCIS will evaluate your application, and they will determine if they give you TPS, if they need additional information, or if they reject it. If they need more information, they will notify you of it. It is important that you respond as soon as possible to ensure that your application is not rejected for this reason.

If you are in need of immigration legal advice or help to apply for TPS do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-5362!

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