Temporary protected status (TPS) allows certain immigrants to live and work in the U.S., but it is not permanent. If you have TPS, you must renew your status during each re-registration period. If you fail to re-register, you can lose the essential benefits of TPS. For example, you can’t adjust your TPS status if your TPS has expired. TPS adjustment of status is one of the easiest ways to get a green card. This article helps you understand how and when to re-register.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Who Should Re-Register for TPS?
If you are eligible for TPS and your TPS status is about to expire, you should re-register. You are eligible for TPS if you are the national of a country that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated as unsafe to return to. These countries are considered dangerous due to armed conflicts such as civil war, natural disasters, or other circumstances.
TPS countries currently include Afghanistan, Burma / Myanmar, Cameroon, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.
You individually qualify for TPS if you meet these eligibility requirements:
You are a national of a designated country or a person without nationality who last lived regularly in a designated country.
You filed for status during a specific registration period. This period could be the initial registration period or a re-registration period. Otherwise, you must meet the requirements for late filing during an extension of your country’s TPS status.
You have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the most recent designation date of your country.
You have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country.
You are not inadmissible for any reason. You may be inadmissible if you’ve:
Been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States
Been flagged by the U.S. government for security reasons
Persecuted another individual or participated in terrorist activity
How Do You Renew TPS?
To renew your TPS designation, you will need to file several forms. This includes forms for your Employment Authorization Document (also known as an employment authorization card), if relevant.
You must include the following forms from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
Form I-821: Application for Temporary Protected Status. This form is the main application to extend your TPS status. If you are eligible, you can fill this form out online. Otherwise, you can print and complete the entire document and mail it to the location listed on the USCIS site specific to your country. There is no fee for this form.
Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization. This form is the application to extend your work authorization. If you are eligible, you can file online. Otherwise, you can print and complete it, then mail it to a the correct direct filing address. The address you’ll send your forms to is based on your reason for applying. Remember that you will need to include two passport-sized photos with your name, alien registration number or A-number, and form number written on the back of each photo. This form also involves a $410 filing fee.
These optional forms may also be relevant:
Form I-131: Application for Travel Document. This application for Advance Parole allows you to travel internationally and return to the United States. Again, you will need to include two passport-sized photos with your information written on the back of each photo. This form typically has a $575 filing fee for TPS beneficiaries.
You’ll also want to include supporting evidence, especially documentation of your immigration history, including:
Identity and nationality evidence: Proof you are a national of a TPS designated country or last habitually lived in a TPS designated country if you have no nationality
Date of entry evidence: Proof of when you entered the United States, such as your I-94 Arrivals/Departures Record
Continuous residence evidence: Proof you have been in the United States since the continuous residence date required for your specific country
When Do You Need To File for TPS Re-Registration?
TPS designations can last for 6, 12, or 18 months. At least 60 days before a country’s TPS designation expires, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will decide whether to extend or end the country’s status. The secretary’s decision appears in the Federal Register Notices (FRN) and on USCIS’s TPS page. If DHS hasn’t published a decision 60 days before the designation expires, that country’s TPS designation is automatically extended for six months.
Generally, you must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period announced by the DHS in the Federal Register Notice. This is also where you can find country-specific instructions about re-registration and reapply for work authorization.
What if You Didn’t Re-Register for TPS in Time?
Although you should avoid applying late, USCIS may still accept your application after the 60-day period ends if you have a good reason. In addition to your application, you need to submit a statement that explains why you filed late. You should have a good reason, and you will also need to include supporting documentation.
Re-Register To Keep Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Up to Date
USCIS sometimes automatically extends TPS holders’ work authorization. In this case, your work permit would remain valid even past its expiration date, according to the Department of Justice. That said, it’s best not to rely on this automatic extension. It is essential to check the Federal Register Notices and USCIS.gov for country-specific information about your work permit.
Usually, TPS holders must file Form I-765 to keep their work authorization and get a new employment authorization card. This form can be filed with Form I-821 or afterward. You must pay the $410 filing fee or apply for a fee waiver.
How To Get TPS and EAD Re-Registration Fees Waived
You will need to demonstrate financial need to qualify for a waiver. This means you must:
Receive a “means-tested benefit” or public benefit based on your income and resources, or
Earn a household income that is at or below the federal poverty guidelines, or
Be able to otherwise prove financial hardship
You must file Form I-912: Request for Fee Waiver to request a fee waiver.
Should You Re-Register if You Have a TPS Application Pending?
You probably do not need to re-register if you have a pending TPS application. As of January 2018, USCIS stated that TPS beneficiaries with pending Form I-821 applications from previous re-registration periods do not need to re-register. However, these TPS policies have been fluctuating recently.
Advice for TPS Holders Considering Travel Outside the U.S.
You can apply for Advance Parole travel authorization to travel outside the United States. This allows you to leave and return to the United States while maintaining your immigration status. You can apply through Form I-131: Application for Travel Document. You can either file this with Form I-821 or separately.
However, before you travel, you should consider seeking legal advice from an attorney about the risks of traveling. A recent Supreme Court decision declared that TPS recipients are not eligible for an adjustment of status to become permanent residents if they were not lawfully inspected and admitted to the United States. This decision means that even if you leave and return with Advance Parole, this does not change the legality of your original entry.