The Chander Law Firm FAQ on Temporary Protected Status (TPS)


by Vishal Chander
Last Revised January 18, 2010

On January 15, 2010, the Obama administration announced that it would be granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals of Haiti.  The announcement came in the aftermath of a tragic earthquake striking Haiti on January 12, 2010.

In an effort to assist individuals affected by the crisis, The Chander Law Firm has published this brief regarding TPS.  We hope that this document will help individuals seeking TPS benefits.  This document is intended only to provide general information and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  Those requiring legal advice should contact an attorney.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is a humanitarian program created by the Immigration Act of 1990.  The program gives the Secretary of Homeland Security authority to grant nationals and stateless habitual residents of countries affected by natural disaster or armed conflict temporary refuge in the United States. 

The granting of TPS benefits allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States for the duration of TPS designation. 

The Secretary of Homeland Security designates nationals and habitual residents of certain countries eligible for TPS by making an announcement in the Federal Register.  The announcement provides an initial registration date and duration for TPS designation.  The Secretary of Homeland Security may also extend the duration of TPS availability for designated countries.  The date of TPS termination for designated countries is also announced in the Federal Register. 

Who is eligible to apply for TPS benefits?

Persons from TPS designated countries may apply for TPS if they: 1) are able to establish their identity as a national of a TPS designated country; 2) are able to prove they were physically present and continuously residing in the United States on the date of designation; 3) are not otherwise inadmissible; and 4) are not ineligible because of conviction of a felony or two or more misdemeanors.

An eligible person may apply for TPS regardless of their current immigration status.  Individuals on temporary visas, those who are out of status, and even those who entered the United States illegally may be granted TPS if otherwise eligible.

How does a person apply for TPS?

In order to apply for TPS, A person must properly submit the appropriate applications, supporting evidence, and filing fees within the initial registration period as set out in the Federal Register.

Applicants for TPS must complete and submit copies of Form I-821 Application for Temporary Status and Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.  Filing fees for each application must be submitted.  Current filing fees are $50 for Form I-821 and $340 for Form I-765.  Applications must also include an $80 fee for fingerprinting.

Applicants should include two passport style photos.  Applicants should also provide supporting evidence establishing 1) proof of nationality and 2) proof of physical presence and continuous residence since the date of TPS designation.

After filing, the applicant will receive a biometrics appointment notice.  The applicant will need to attend the appointment where fingerprints will be taken.  The applicant may also receive an interview notice.  The applicant must appear at the interview if he or she receives an interview notice.

Individuals with criminal records or who may be inadmissible for other reasons should consult an immigration attorney before filing for TPS.

Can the application fees be waived?

Applicants for TPS may request a waiver of the application fees.  Applicants should include a written request for fee waiver along with proof of indigency.  Applications filed through nonprofit and pro bono agencies are most likely to be granted fee waivers.

What if I miss the initial registration period?

There are procedures for late initial registration and consideration of late filed applications for good cause.  If you miss the initial registration period and wish to seek late registration, you should consult an attorney.

I am a national of Haiti.  When can I apply for TPS?

The Department of Homeland Security will announce TPS eligibility for Hatian nationals in the Federal Register on January 21, 2010.  The date of initial designation will be January 12, 2010.  Applicants will need to demonstrate physical presence in the United States as of January 12, 2010.  Applicants will have 180 days from January 21, 2010 to apply for TPS (initial registration period).  Failure to apply during this period may result in ineligibility for TPS benefits.  The duration of TPS designation for nationals of Haiti will be 18 months.

Intending TPS applicants should file their applications for TPS as close to the announcement date as possible.  The processing of TPS applications can often become backlogged and TPS approvals can be delayed.

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Vishal Chander
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
1601 Elm Street Suite 3000
Dallas, Texas 75201
(214) 677-4990

Toll Free
1 (888) 310-4044

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