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TPS: What Temporary Protected Status Means for Civilians who Qualify

-> This article about Temporary Protected Status is part of Documented’s Glossary. We want to make it easier to understand the U.S. immigration system. If you want to know more about different visa types and immigration terms, please check our updated library here.

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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of relief the government of the United States can provide to immigrants of specifically designated countries that are facing ongoing armed conflict, such as civil wars, environmental phenomena, and extraordinary or temporary conditions. TPS allows those civilians to remain in the U.S. legally, and receive work and travel authorization for a determined period of time.

TPS was established in the 1990 Immigration Act and is now granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland security.  The government can provide and designate TPS to a group of people for anywhere from 6 to 18 months. This period can be extended if circumstances in their home country seemingly have not changed. For example, some TPS holders have lived in the U.S. for decades. The status does not lead to permanent resident status.

Once TPS designations expire, it is upto the secretary of state to review the conditions of the country and decide if an extension is warranted. The decision to extend, whether it be a 6, 12, or 18 month extension, must be made at least 60 days before the TPS’s designation expiration date. 

In 2021, Venezuela, Syria, Burma and Haiti were all given TPS designations. Following the latest developments of the war in Ukraine, an 18-month Temporary Protection Status was designated for the country that starts on April 2022 and expires in October of 2023.  See the full list of countries under the TPS


Also Read: Credible Fear Interview: A Critical Step in the Asylum Process

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