Topics on this page:
- What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
- Who is eligible for TPS?
- Which countries currently designated for TPS?
- For what reasons can a country be designated for TPS?
- What are the benefits of TPS?
- How long does TPS last?
- Does TPS create a path to permanent residence or citizenship?
- How to I file for TPS?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an immigration status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported there. TPS allows individuals from certain countries to remain in the United States (U.S.) if it is unsafe for them to return to their home country due to a humanitarian emergency there.
In addition to being a citizen of a TPS designated nation, you must meet several other eligibility requirements:
- Physical presence in the U.S.: You must have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the effective date upon which your country was designated or redesignated for TPS.
- Continuous residence in the U.S.: You must have continuously resided in the U.S. from the date U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) specified your country for TPS, usually a few months or days prior to the effective date.
- No serious criminal record: If you have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S., you will be ineligible for TPS benefits.
- Not otherwise inadmissible: If you are match one of the grounds of "inadmissibility" to the U.S., you will not be eligible to file for TPS.
- Not subject to the asylum bars: Although TPS differs from asylum, USCIS treats the two the same when it comes to the mandatory bars to eligibility. Learn more about asylum.
Nationals of a designated country do not automatically receive TPS, but instead must register during a specific registration period and pay fees. In addition, an individual’s immigration status at the time of application for TPS has no effect on one’s eligibility, nor does the previous issuance of an order of removal.
A list of countries currently designated for TPS is maintained on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) TPS site. Publication of TPS designations, extensions and terminations in the Federal Register can be accessed on the U.S. Department of Justice TPS page.
A country may be designated for TPS for one or more of the following reasons:
An ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war);
An environmental disaster (such as an earthquake, hurricane), or an epidemic; or
Extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent nationals from returning to the state in safety.
During a designated period, TPS holders are:
• Not removable (deportable) from the U.S. and not detainable by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the basis of his or her immigration status,
• Eligible for an employment authorization document (EAD), and
• Eligible for travel authorization.
Read the Law: 8 USCA §1254a
TPS designation can be granted for 6, 12 or 18 months at a time, and the designation may be extended by the Secretary of Homeland Security. At least 60 days prior to the expiration of TPS, the Secretary must decide whether to extend or terminate a designation based on the conditions in the foreign country.
TPS does not provide beneficiaries with a separate path to lawful permanent residence (a green card) or citizenship.
Information on the TPS application process, including what to file, as well as when and where to file can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) TPS site. For assistance with filing a TPS Status application, please contact an immigration legal service provider. A list is available in the Legal Services Directory.