The Temporary Protected Status program, also known as TPS, came into existence in 1990. It is a program under the Department of Home Land Security that protects migrants from deportation. Although migrants under TPS are not lawful permanent residents, they are allowed to stay and work in the United States for up to 18 months, a period that the United States may renew repeatedly. Initially, the program received support from both parties. Recently, however, it has been the topic of controversy as Donald Trump attempted to end TPS for hundreds of thousands of migrants, while President Biden promised to roll back the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration. This blog post will examine how the legislature starts a TPS program for a specific country, and then how you as a migrant may apply for TPS. If you have questions or would like assistance with a TPS application, please contact a New York City temporary visas immigration lawyer today.

How Does the Legislature Initiate Temporary Protected Status?

For a TPS program to officially begin, a country must receive a TPS designation from the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security is the only one with the authority to grant TPS. TPS may be given based on many reasons, including an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters like hurricanes, or any other extraordinarily dangerous but temporary situation.

Once the period for a country’s TPS passes, migrants under the protection of TPS revert to the immigration status they held before TPS was granted. For a majority, this signifies a return to undocumented status. Migrants may apply for work or student visas, though these are temporary immigration solutions. If a migrant is married to a United States citizen or has adult United States citizen or legal resident children, they may be able to remain in the country.

When Can I Apply for TPS?

When a country receives the TPS designation, any citizen of that country in the United States is eligible to apply for the program and may receive it if they meet certain criteria set by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

These criteria are:

  • You must be a national or a habitually stateless resident of a country with TPS.
  • You must have been physically present in the United States since your home country received its TPS designation.
  • You must have continuously resided in the United States since a date that the Secretary of Homeland Security will select.
  • You must not pose a threat to the national security of the United States. Who does and does not pose a threat is determined by the pertinent United States agency.

How Do I Apply for TPS?

To apply, there are three forms you may complete. You must also submit evidence to substantiate the claims on those forms as well as the processing fee for the application or a request for a fee waiver.

Form I-821

This form may be filled out and sent electronically through USCIS’s TPS website. It may also be mailed to the Federal Register for that country listed on USCIS, but not for Venezuela.

Form I-765

This form is to request employment authorization (EAD). The I-765 doesn’t need to be filled out at the same time as the I-821, as you can send it in any time while you have TPS, but submitting them together could help you receive the EAD sooner.

Form I-601

Finally, if you’re considered inadmissible, you’ll need to fill out this form requesting a waiver of inadmissibility.

For the above forms, you will need evidence such as passports and identity documents to prove your identity. For date of entry proof, your passport may suffice again. Employment records can be used to prove continuous residence. There are other documents that are sufficient proof for the above categories, as well.

Lastly, you will need to send the fee or the fee waiver request.