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TPS: A Lifeline for Over a Million Immigrants

October 10, 2023

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In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, TPS provides a limited lifeline.

Nearly 1.5 million individuals gain protection from deportation and employment authorization under the designation of temporary protected status during the past twelve months.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide temporary deportation reprieve for nationals of designated countries who because of natural disasters, armed conflict, or other “ extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state”[i] who cannot safely return home or whose countries cannot adequately process their return. Temporary Protected Status is a Congressionally created humanitarian program under the Immigration Act of 1990.[ii] It provides individuals with temporary protection against deportation, employment authorization and advance parole allowing travel outside the United States. TPS is granted for six, twelve, or eighteen months at a time and may be extended from time to time. Department of Homeland Security may also redesignate a country for TPS to include people who arrive in the U.S. after the cut-off date of the initial TPS when the designated country continues to experience humanitarian crisis.

Impacts of TPS

Since 1990, a total of 28 countries have been designated for TPS, shielding hundreds of thousands of individuals from deportation and offering them employment authorization for up to eighteen months at a time. TPS does not provide a direct path to permanent immigration status, it is subject to extension or cancellation[iii] at the whim of the Administration. Sixteen countries are currently designated for TPS, four of them have TPS designation for more than two decades: Somalia (initial designation on September 16, 1991), Honduras (initial designation on January 5, 1999), Nicaragua (initial designation on January 5, 1999), and El Salvador (initial designation on March 9, 2001). Without a direct path to permanent immigration status, nearly 330,000 individuals from these four countries must live with uncertainty in immigration limbo eighteen months at a time.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that nearly 1.5 million (1,485,869) individuals will benefit under the current TPS regime. More than eighty percent of the TPS beneficiaries are from the Americas and the Caribbean. Majority of TPS beneficiaries live in only four states: Florida, California, Texas, and New York, where they have made significant economic impacts.[iv] Domestically, TPS-holders have contributed billions of dollars in the U.S economy through tax contribution, purchasing power, entrepreneurship, and home ownership,[v] they have also helped support the rebuilding efforts and revitalize the economy of their home countries as well as improving the lives of family abroad through remittances.[vi]

Although TPS shields the beneficiaries from deportation during the period of designation, they  must endure the upheavals and anxiety whenever the designation is approaching expiration. The termination of TPS designation means that long-term residents who invested financially and emotionally in their community must uproot themselves, leave behind family and friends and return to a country they no longer know. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which was reintroduced in 2023, if passed by Congress, would provide a pathway to permanent immigration status for TPS beneficiaries and fully integrate TPS beneficiaries who have been an integral part of our community.[vii]

Current Status of TPS

Below is the specific designation date and registration period for the 16 countries designated for TPS:

Country Designation valid through Re-registration period Registration period for initial TPS For redesignation – continuous residing in U.S. since For redesignation – continuous physical presence in U.S. since
Afghanistan[viii] May 20, 2025 Sept. 25, 2023 – Nov. 24, 2023 Sept. 25, 2023 – May 20, 2025 Sept. 20, 2023 Nov. 21, 2023
Cameron[ix] June 7, 2025 Oct. 10, 2023 – Dec. 11, 2023 Oct. 10, 2023 – June 7, 2025 Oct. 5, 2023 Dec. 8, 2023
El Salvador[x] Mar 9 , 2025 July 12, 2023 – Mar. 9. 2025 N/A N/A N/A
Ethiopia[xi] June 12, 2024 Dec. 12, 2022- June 12, 2024 N/A Oct. 20, 2022 Dec. 12, 2022
Haiti[xii] Aug. 3, 2024 Jan. 26, 2023 – Aug. 3, 2024 Jan. 26, 2023 – Aug. 3, 2024 Nov. 6, 2022 Feb. 4, 2023
Honduras[xiii] July 5, 2025 Nov. 6, 2023 – July 5, 2025 N/A N/A N/A
Myanmar[xiv] May 25, 2024 Sept. 22, 2022 – Nov. 26, 2022 Sept. 27, 2022 – May 25, 2024 Sept. 25, 2022 Nov. 26, 2022
Nepal[xv] June 24, 2025 Oct. 24, 2023 – June 24, 2025 N/A N/A N/A
Nicaragua[xvi] July 5, 2025 Nov. 6, 2023 – July 5, 2025 N/A N/A N/A
Somalia[xvii] Sept. 17, 2024 Mar. 13, 2023 – May 12, 2023 Mar. 13, 2023 – Sept. 17, 2024 Jan. 11, 2023 Mar. 18, 2023
South Sudan[xviii] May 3, 2025 Sept. 6, 2023 – Nov. 6 2023 Sept. 6, 2023 – May 3, 2025 Sept. 4, 2023 Nov. 4, 2023
Sudan[xix] April 19, 2025 Aug. 21, 2023 – April 19, 2025 Aug. 21, 2023 – April 19, 2025 Aug. 16, 2023 Oct. 20, 2023
Syria[xx] Mar. 31, 2024 Aug. 1, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2022 Aug. 1, 2023 – Mar. 31, 2024 July 28, 2022 Oct. 1, 2022
Ukraine[xxi] Apr. 19, 2025 Aug. 21, 2023 – Oct. 20, 2023 Aug. 21, 223 – Apr. 19, 2025 Aug. 16, 2023 Oct. 20, 2023
Venezuela[xxii] Sept. 10, 2025 Jan. 10, 2024 – Mar. 10, 2024 see below N/A N/A
Venezuela 2023[xxiii] Apr 2, 2025 N/A Oct. 3, 2023 – Apr. 2, 2025 July 31, 2023 Oct. 3, 2023
Yemen[xxiv] Sept. 3, 2024 Jan. 3, 2023 – mar. 6, 2023 Jan. 3, 2023 – Sept. 3, 2024 Dec. 29, 2022 Mar. 4, 2023

 

By redesignating Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Ukraine for TPS, DHS not only made it possible for hundreds of thousands more people obtain protection from deportation and work authorization, but it also helps relieve the pressure on cities helping to resettle newcomers, reduce the increasingly bloated dockets in immigration courts, and loosen the severe backlogs in asylum offices.

Eligibility Requirements for TPS

To be eligible for TPS, an individual must meet the following requirements:[xxv]

  1. Be a national of the designated country, or last habitually resided in that country;
  2. Continuously physically present in the U.S. since the effective date of the most recent designation;
  3. Continuously residing in the U.S. since the date designated by DHS;
  4. Admissible as an immigrant, except that public charge, labor certification, unqualified physicians, and document requirements of INA 212(a) do not apply;
  5. Not ineligible due to
    1. Conviction of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States as defined in 8 C.F.R. 244.1;
    2. Being subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum, which include, for example, participating in the persecution of another person or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity under INA 208(b)(2)(A);
  6. File for TPS within the registration period; or
    1. Is eligible for late filing under the following conditions and file within 60 days[xxvi] of the expiration or termination of the condition[xxvii]:
      1. Was a nonimmigrant granted voluntary departure, or any relief from removal;
      2. Had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum voluntary departure or any relief from removal that was pending or subject to further review or appeal;
      3. Was a parolee or had a pending request for re-parole; or
      4. Is the spouse of an individual currently eligible for TPS.

Note that an individual cannot obtain TPS as a derivative to a parent or a child who has TPS.  

Proof of employment authorization

Due to ongoing backlog in adjudicating TPS and accompanying employment authorization, DHS issued a temporary final rule providing an additional 360-day extension for a total of 540-day to employment authorization for TPS beneficiaries and applicants.[xxviii] For individuals who electronically filed their I-765 Application for Employment Authorization but who have not received the automatic extension notice, they should log into their account on MyUSCIS to obtain the corrected receipt with the language about the 540-day automatic extension. TPS beneficiaries may show the following two documents to their employer as accepted proof of employment authorization:

  1. Form I-797, U.S.C.I.S. receipt notice for the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and
  2. Expired Employment Authorization (with either A12 or C19 category)[xxix]

New Travel Authorization for TPS beneficiaries

TPS beneficiaries can travel outside of the United States with prior consent from U.S.C.I.S. by applying for advance parole. Beginning on July 1, 2022, U.S.C.I.S. has started issuing Form I-512T, a new travel authorization for TPS beneficiaries to replace advance parole document. TPS beneficiaries may file Form I-131 to apply for travel authorization. Individuals with existing and unexpired advance parole can continue to use the document to travel through its validity date.

[i] 8 U.S.C. §1254a(b).

[ii] Pub. L. Np. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978, codified in the Immigration and Nationality Act, INA, §244, 8 U.S.C. §1254a.

[iii] In 2017 and 2018, the Trump Administration terminated TPS designations of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, and El Salvador. Two class action litigation resulted from the termination: Bhattarai v. Nielsen, No, 19-cv-731 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 12, 2019), and Ramos v. Nielsen, 975 F.3d 872 (9th Cir., Sept. 14, 2020).

[iv] The Contributions of Temporary Protected Status Holders to the U.S. Economy, (American Immigration Council, Sept. 2023), https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/research/contributionstemporaryprotectedstatus_0923.pdf.

[v] Id.

[vi] “[C]itizens abroad sent a total of $24.5 billion in remittance to just four countries in the Central American region in 2020; this made up 24 percent of the GDP in Honduras, 23 percent of the GDP in El Salvador, and 14 percent of the GDP in both Guatemala and Nicaragua.” In a 2017 survey, TPS-holders sent an average of 9.5% of their monthly earnings back home to support their families. Salvadorans have TPS status sent 6% more funds back home than their counterparts without authorized status. Silva Mathema, Joel Martinez, Temporary Protected Status Is Critical To Tackling the Root Causes of Migration in the Americas: Remittance From TPS Holders Improve the Lives of Families Abroad, Center for American Progress (Oct. 28. 2021), https://www.americanprogress.org/article/temporary-protected-status-critical-tackling-root-causes-migration-americas/.

[vii] H.R. 3194, §1104 (May 10, 2023).

[viii] 88 Fed. Reg 65728 (Sept. 25, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-09-25/pdf/2023-20791.pdf.

[ix] 88 Fed. Reg. 69946 (Oct. 10, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-10-10/pdf/2023-22375.pdf.

[x] 88 Fed. Reg. 40282 (June 21, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-06-21/pdf/2023-13018.pdf.

[xi] 87 Fed. Reg. 76074 (Dec. 12, 2022), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-12-12/pdf/2022-26880.pdf.

[xii] 88 Fed. Reg. 5022 (Jan. 26, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-01-26/pdf/2023-01586.pdf.

[xiii] 88 Fed. Reg. 40304 (Jun. 21, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-06-21/pdf/2023-13017.pdf.

[xiv] 87 Fed. Reg. 58515 (Sept. 27, 2022), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-09-27/pdf/2022-20784.pdf.

[xv] 88 Fed. Reg. 40317 (Jun. 21, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-06-21/pdf/2023-13019.pdf.

[xvi] 88 Fed. Reg. 40294 (Jun. 21, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-06-21/pdf/2023-13246.pdf.

[xvii] 88 Fed. Reg. 15434 (Mar. 13, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-03-13/pdf/2023-04735.pdf.

[xviii] 88 Fed. Reg. 60971 (Sept. 6, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-09-06/pdf/2023-19312.pdf.

[xix] 88 Fed. Reg. 56864 (Aug. 21, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-08-21/pdf/2023-17877.pdf.

[xx] 87 Fed. Reg. 46982 (Aug. 1, 2022), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-08-01/pdf/2022-16508.pdf.

[xxi] 88 Fed. Reg. 56872 (Aug. 21, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-08-21/pdf/2023-17875.pdf.

[xxii] 88 Fed. Reg. 68130 (Oct. 3, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-10-03/pdf/2023-21865.pdf.

[xxiii] Id.

[xxiv] 88 Fed. Reg. 94 (Jan. 3, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-01-03/pdf/2022-28283.pdf.

[xxv] 8 C.F.R. §244.

[xxvi] There is no time limit for late filing if someone is the child (unmarried and under 21 years old during the initial registration period) of someone who is currently eligible for TPS. This individual may file during the extension period even if s/he is no longer a child within the definition of the Immigration and Nationality Act. https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status

[xxvii] 8 C.F.R. §244.2(f)(2)

[xxviii] 87 Fed. Reg. 26614 (May 4, 2022). DHS provides a 180-day automatic extension of employment authorization when a person applies for or re-registers for TPS, the new rule adds 360 days on top of the 180-day automatic extension for a total of 540 days.

[xxix] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status

 

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