Temporary Protected Status
Authored By: Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS)
What is Temporary Protected Status?
At times, a country may be unsafe due to ongoing armed conflict like civil war, natural disasters, disease epidemics or other temporarily extraordinary conditions. When this happens, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security may designate that country for Temporary Protected Status. If a country receives this designation, its citizens may enjoy temporary immigration privileges in the United States until the Secretary decides that the country is safe enough to remove the protected status.
After initial review, when TPS is fully granted, these benfits will also protect against detention by the Department of Homeland Security based on immigration status. Keep in mind that TPS is a form of temporary relief. TPS does not develip into Legal Permanent Resident status over time. You may apply for TPS, asylum, adjustment of status and any other immigration benefit you qualify for at the same time. Denial of one will not result in automatic denial of another; however, both requests can be denied for the same underlying reason.
The United States immigration process is very complex and can be overwhelming for most people- including many attorneys who do not specialize in immigration law! An experienced immigration lawyer can help you determine what categories you might qualify under, examine the strength of those qualifications and then build a strategy for arguing your application before an immigration judge. If you need help finding a lawyer with the right kind of experience for your situation, the American Immigration Lawyer's Association has built a tool to help you find one. Lawyers will charge different fees depending on the complexity of your situation. You can ask the attorney you contact upfront if there is a consultation fee.
What Countries are Currently Designated for
Temporary Protected Status?
For an updated list of countries currently eligible, visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration TPS webpage.
How to read this chart...
1. Check the list of countries in the first column
If you are a national of one of these countries then you may be eligible for temporary protected status depending on the dates you have been in the United States. If you are not a national of one of these countries, you may still be eligible for temporary protected status if you do not have a nationality and your last habitual residence was in one of these countries.
2. Check the date listed in the second column, next to your country
Generally, you must have been "continuously physically present" in the United States since this date to be eligible for temporary protected status. You must also have been "continuously residing" in the United States since the date designated for your specific country. Click here to visit the USCIS website and see your country's residencey requirements by clicking on the name of your country on the chart.
Keep in mind that "continuous" in these two cases do allow for some brief, casual and innocent trips outside the United States. However, when you apply or re-register for temporary protected status, you must inform the immigration service of any trips you have taken outside of the Unites States since these two dates. The immigration service will decide if these trips were long enough to affect the "continuous" requirement.
3. Check the current expiration date in the third column
This is the date when protected status for this country is currently set to end.
4. Check the initial or re-registration period listed for your country in the fourth and fifth columns
These dates tell you when you may apply for temporary protected status.
Who is not eligible to apply?
You may not be eligible to apply for temporary protected status approval or reneweal if you:
1) Have been convicted of a felony or more than one misdemeanor in the United States
2) Are found inadmissible as an immigrant based on the criminal and security-related grounds listed in INA section 212(a)
3) Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum such as persecuting another individual or inciting terrorist activity
4) Do not meet the requirements of continuous physical presence and residence in the United States
5) Do not meet the date requirements for your country
6) Are granted TPS but fail to re-register without good cause