Temporary Protected Status

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

The United States government can decide that an emergency in a country makes it unsafe for citizens of that country who are already in the United States to go back to their country. This is called “designating” that country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Some examples of emergencies are civil wars and natural disasters.

If your home country has been designated for TPS and you live in the United States, you may meet the requirements to apply for TPS. A person who is granted TPS is allowed to live and work in the United States until the emergency is over.

Immigration law can be complicated. It is important to talk to a good immigration lawyer before applying for TPS.

Can I apply for TPS?

To be eligible for TPS, you must:

  • Be from, or have last lived in, a country the United States has put on the TPS list.
  • Have lived in the United States without leaving (other than for “brief, casual, and innocent travel”) since the most recent “designation date,” the date your country was put on the TPS list.
  • Have lived in the United States from your country’s “continuous residence” date on the TPS list.
  • File during an open registration period for your country, or meet a late filing exception.
  • Have no criminal record, or a very limited one. You may not meet the requirements for TPS if you have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States.
  • Not be “inadmissible” under the United States law. Some things that can make you inadmissible are
    • criminal convictions,
    • violating immigration laws, and
    • medical issues.

You may be able to apply for a waiver if you are inadmissible. See the Immigrant Legal Resource Center article on inadmissibility for more information.


You are from Venezuela. You came to the United States before July 31, 2023, the “designation date.” You have lived in the United States since the continuous residence date of October 3, 2023. You have no criminal record, no immigration violations, or other things that make you “inadmissible.” You could apply for TPS between October 3, 2023 and April 2, 2025, the open registration period.

What countries are on the TPS list?

To see whether your country is on the TPS list, and to see if its registration period is open, you can visit the “Temporary Protected Status” page of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. As of September 2023, the following countries are on the TPS list:

  • Afghanistan
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cameroon
  • El Salvador
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti*
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
How do I apply for TPS?

Look for help from an immigration lawyer to make sure you are eligible before you apply for TPS. You can apply for TPS by filling out Form I-821. You will also need to submit:

  • A filing fee of $50 or a fee waiver request on Form I-912.
  • A biometrics fee of $85 if you are over 14 years old or a fee waiver request on Form I-912,
  • Evidence that proves your identity.
  • Evidence that you are a national or citizen of the country on the TPS list.
  • Proof that you lived in the United States since the most recent “designation date” and continuous residence for your country.
  • If you want a work permit, you must also submit:
    • Form I-765,
    • Two passport-style photographs, and
    • A filing fee of $410 or a fee waiver request on Form I-912.
  • If you want to use a fee waiver, you can use one for all of the forms for TPS and your work permit.
Can I apply for TPS for my spouse or children?

Family members cannot get TPS through another family member. Each family member must apply for and be eligible for TPS on their own. Depending on your home country, your children or spouse may be treated as a citizen of that country, even if they were not born there or did not live there.


A child of a Haitian citizen is considered a citizen of Haiti and can apply for TPS, even if the child was not born in Haiti.

But a spouse of a Haitian citizen is not a Haitian citizen by marriage alone and is not eligible for Haiti TPS. The spouse must be a citizen of a country on the TPS list to be eligible.

What happens after I have TPS?

During the time that you have TPS, you:

  • Can get work authorization,
  • Cannot be removed from the United States if you are in removal proceedings, just for being without status,
  • May apply for permission to travel outside the United States, by applying for something called “Advance Parole.”
  • Must re-register during the re-registration periods for your country. See the TPS list for re-registration periods.
Can I apply for other forms of immigration status while I have TPS?

Yes. If you are eligible for another form of immigration status, you may want to apply even while you have TPS. The government can end TPS at any time and it does not lead to permanent status, like a green card.

Do I run any risks if I apply for TPS?

Talk to a qualified immigration lawyer before applying to TPS. Some risks may include:

  • If your application is denied, you may be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.
  • USCIS will have your fingerprints and biometric information on file.
If I have TPS, can I apply for a Social Security number?

Yes. If you have TPS and your application for authorization to work has been approved, you can get a Social Security Number. Employers use Social Security numbers to report their employees’ wages to the government. The government then works out your Social Security benefits according to your employment history. You need a Social Security number to work, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services.

TPS for Haiti

Right now, only Haitians who have been living in the United States since at least June 3, 2024 are eligible for TPS. TPS for Haiti has only been granted until February 3, 2026. If your TPS expires on August 3, 2024, you can apply to re-register for TPS. The re-registration period began July 1, 2024 and ends August 30, 2024.

TPS work permits with Codes A12 or C19 and expiration dates of August 3, 2024 or earlier are automatically extended until August 3, 2025. Individuals should still file to renew their work permits for the full TPS period ending February 3, 2026.

Learn more about TPS for Haiti (MIRA Coalition).

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