Temporary Protective Status (TPS)

When can the Secretary designate a country for TPS?

Congress created TPS as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. The law, found at 8 U.S.C. § 1254a, allows the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the Government, to designate a country (or part of a country) for TPS due to:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war),
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic, or
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions (unless the U.S. government finds that permitting these nationals to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the U.S. national interest).

What are the benefits of TPS?

During a designated period, TPS holders are:

  • Not removable from the U.S. and not detainable by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status,
  • Eligible for an employment authorization document (EAD), and
  • Eligible for travel authorization.

(1) In general – In the case of an alien who is a national of a foreign state designated under subsection (b) (or in the case of an alien having no nationality, is a person who last habitually resided in such designated state) and who meets the requirements of subsection (c), the Attorney General, in accordance with this section—

(A)may grant the alien temporary protected status in the United States and shall not remove the alien from the United States during the period in which such status is in effect, and

(B)shall authorize the alien to engage in employment in the United States and provide the alien with an “employment authorized” endorsement or other appropriate work permit.

8 U.S.C. §1254a

How many individuals are currently granted TPS?

The U.S. currently provides TPS to about 610,000 foreign nationals from the following 16 countries, as of March 31, 2023:

CountryApproved Individuals
El Salvador188,725
South Sudan100

Who has the authority to designate a country for TPS?

The Secretary of Homeland Security has discretion to decide when a country merits a TPS designation. The Secretary must consult with other government agencies prior to deciding to designate a country—or part of a country—for TPS. See 8 U.S.C. § 1254a. Although these other agencies are not specified in the statute, these consultations usually involve the Department of State, the National Security Council, and occasionally the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Secretary’s decision as to whether or not to designate a country for TPS is not subject to judicial review, according to immigration law.

Does TPS create a path to permanent residence or citizenship?

TPS does not provide beneficiaries with a separate path to lawful permanent residence (a green card) or
citizenship. That said, it can make it much easier for someone to obtain lawful permanent resident status and then ultimately citizenship.

Many noncitizens in the US without immigration status entered without inspection, meaning that they crossed the border into the US and entered illegally rather than entering on a visa or by lawful means. Noncitizens who enter the US in this manner are not eligible to adjust status to obtain legal permanent residency through a petition from a family member. Once a person obtains TPS they are eligible to apply for Advance Parole pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 244.15, which is permission to travel outside of the US. Upon return to the US with advance parole the noncitizen is paroled into the US. A person who has been paroled into the US is eligible for adjustment of status to a legal permanent resident if they have a family member to petition for them.

TPS can therefore, through advance parole, render noncitizens that are ineligible for adjustment of status eligible. A noncitizen who is unable to avail themselves of the benefits of TPS would have to go through the lengthy process of obtaining a waiver of unlawful presence and then traveling abroad to attend an interview at the US consulate in their home country in order to obtain legal permanent resident status through a petition from a family member.

What happens to a TPS beneficiary when a TPS designation ends?

TPS beneficiaries return to the immigration status that the person held prior to receiving TPS, unless that status has expired or the person has successfully acquired a new immigration status.54 TPS beneficiaries who entered the United States without inspection and who are not eligible for other immigration benefits, for example, would return to being undocumented at the end of a TPS designation and become subject to removal.

When do TPS designations expire?

It depends on the country as shown below:

Required Arrival DateSecretary’s Decision DueExpiration Date
El Salvador3/9/200101/08/202503/09/2025
South Sudan03/01/202209/04/202311/03/2023

TPS for Venezuela was recently redesignated and extended on September 22, 2023.

One response to “Temporary Protective Status (TPS)”

  1. […] TPS grants other benefits to recipients as well and can make some people eligible to obtain permanent immigration benefits. There is more information about TPS available on our TPS Overview Page. […]

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