Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a vital humanitarian immigration program in the United States that offers temporary relief from deportation to nationals of designated countries facing extreme hardship. As an immigration and criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in New York and New Jersey, I have witnessed the significant impact TPS has had on the lives of countless individuals and families. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of TPS, including its definition, eligibility criteria, application process, and the legal framework that governs it.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a legal immigration status granted by the U.S. government to foreign nationals from countries experiencing ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary conditions that make it unsafe for them to return. TPS allows individuals to live and work in the United States temporarily, shielding them from deportation.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for TPS, individuals must meet specific criteria established by U.S. immigration laws. These criteria include:

  1. Nationality: Applicants must be nationals of a designated TPS country. The Secretary of Homeland Security designates countries based on conditions that temporarily prevent their citizens from safely returning.
  2. Continuous Physical Presence: Individuals must demonstrate continuous physical presence in the United States from the date the country is designated for TPS. This requirement ensures that TPS applicants have a substantial connection to the United States.
  3. No Felony Convictions: TPS applicants cannot have been convicted of a felony in the United States. Any felony conviction makes an applicant ineligible for TPS.

Application Process

Obtaining TPS involves a formal application process that includes:

  1. Filing Form I-821: TPS applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, along with supporting documentation and fees.
  2. Biometrics Appointment: After filing Form I-821, applicants are scheduled for a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signature verification.
  3. Adjudication: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews the application, conducts background checks, and makes a determination on eligibility.
  4. Employment Authorization: TPS beneficiaries are eligible for employment authorization. They can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting Form I-765.

Legal Framework

The legal authority for TPS is derived from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and subsequent regulations. Specifically, Section 244 of the INA grants the Secretary of Homeland Security the discretion to designate countries for TPS and establish eligibility criteria.

TPS vs. Asylum

It is essential to distinguish between TPS and asylum, as they are related but distinct forms of relief. TPS is granted based on conditions in the home country, while asylum is a form of protection for individuals who fear persecution in their home country due to factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.


Temporary Protected Status (TPS) plays a critical role in providing humanitarian relief to nationals of designated countries facing extraordinary conditions. Understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and legal framework of TPS is crucial for individuals seeking this temporary protection and for legal professionals like myself who work to assist them. As an attorney with extensive experience in immigration and criminal defense, I have seen the positive impact of TPS on the lives of countless clients, and I remain committed to advocating for their rights and security in the United States.

For more information on TPS and immigration relief, please feel free to contact me. I am here to provide guidance and legal assistance to those in need.

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