How Do I Apply For Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

Temporary protected status (TPS) can help you stay in the United States for a set amount of time. If you are applying for TPS for the first time, you must complete the U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-821. This is called the Application for Temporary Protected Status.

In addition to filing fees, you will be expected to submit the following immigration documents to the government:

  • A fee waiver request, submitted in place of a filing fee, if applicable
  • Supporting evidence of identity and nationality
  • Proof of residence
  • A fee for biometric services if you are age 14 or older

If you are between the ages of 14 and 65 and want employment authorization, you should also complete and submit USCIS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with the appropriate fee.

Applicants who already have or do not wish to receive employment authorization still must submit a completed USCIS Form I-765 with their Form I-821, but without the accompanying fee.

If you are over the age of 14, you will be called by the USCIS for biometrics after you send in your application. If you receive TPS, you must not forget the re-registration period with the USCIS every time you want to extend your TPS status.

What Are TPS Eligibility Requirements?

To be eligible for TPS you must:

  • Be an eligible national from one of 12 designated countries (Myanmar, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, or Yemen)
  • File during the initial registration, re-registration, or meet the late filing requirements. Don’t miss any filing deadlines.
  • Be continuously physically present in the United States and continuously residing in the U.S. since the date the country was designated for TPS.

Exceptions to the “continuous physical presence and residence” include brief, casual, and innocent absence due to emergency or extenuating circumstances outside a TPS applicant’s control.

Certain factors affect TPS eligibility, including:

  • Your current immigration status or if you lack nationality
  • Failing to timely file the TPS application either through the initial or late registration period
  • Failing to re-register for TPS extension during the registration period without showing good cause
  • Being inadmissible due to non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds
  • You were convicted of any felony or two misdemeanors in the United States
  • Failing to meet the requirements of continuous physical presence and continuous residence inside the United States

What Are the Government’s Conditions for TPS Status?

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS if there is an ongoing armed conflict in that country, an environmental disaster such as earthquake, flood, drought, or epidemic has occurred, or for other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

How Do I Know if My Immigration Problem Involves the Department of State, USCIS, or the Department of Labor?

The answer depends on whether the problem involves a visa, a petition requesting permission to enter the United States, or labor certification.

If the problem involves a visa, it probably involves the Department of State, which is the only federal agency that can issue a visa.

There are two types of visas:

  • Non-immigrant status visa: This is a multicolored stamp in your passport, allowing you to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose.
  • Immigrant status visa: This is not stamped in a passport, but is a packet of documents surrendered to an immigration officer when you enter the U.S. The packet includes an approved petition filed by an individual, a business, or an organization (such as a religious group) seeking to sponsor your entry into this country.

The situation involves USCIS if the problem involves requesting permission to enter the United States:

  • As an immigrant
  • Under certain circumstances
  • As a non-immigrant
  • For employment
  • As a fiancé

If the problem involves labor certification, it involves the Department of Labor.

Speak to an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today

When it comes to immigration and whether you can live and work where you want, every detail matters. When the slightest paperwork error or missed deadline can mean years of delays, it is essential to do things right the first time. An experienced immigration lawyer can address your particular needs with temporary protected status, and put you in the best position for a positive outcome. Take the first step now and contact a local immigration attorney to discuss your rights and specific situation.

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