Overview of Employment Authorization with Temporary Protective Status

What is Temporary Protective Status?
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country or parts of a foreign country Temporary Protective Status (“TPS”) when conditions in the country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely to the country and in some cases, when the country is unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals.[1]
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions[2]:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war);
  • An environmental disaster (such as a hurricane or an earthquake), or an epidemic; and/or
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

Once the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated a country for TPS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USICS”) may grant TPS to eligible foreign nationals from these designated countries who are currently residing in the United States. USICS is also given the power to grant TPS to eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated countries.
As of the publication date of this blog post, the countries currently designated for TPS are as follows:

Note: If you want more information about TPS in any of these above designated countries, click on the that country’s hyperlink for specific country information from the USICS website.
Note: The above list of TPS designated countries can change at any given moment. Accordingly, if you are applying or re-applying for TPS, make sure to check the USICS website for a current list of designated TPS countries or parts of countries before paying for or submitting any TPS application or form.
If a person is granted TPS status, then for a designated period of time he or she is not removable from the U.S., can obtain an employment authorization document (“EAD”; commonly referred to as a work permit), may be granted travel authorization, and cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of his or her immigration status in the U.S.[3]
The importance of obtaining an EAD: U.S. employers must check to make sure that all their employees are legally allowed to work in the U.S. Obtaining an EAD from USCIS is one way to show that you are legally allowed to work for any U.S. employer for a specific period of time. Your EAD will only be designated for a specific period of time. If you want a new EAD after your initial EAD expires, you will need to re-apply and receive a new one in order to continue legally working for any U.S. employer.
Here’s a brief overview of the steps in the TPS application process[4]:
Step 1: File your TPS petition/application with USCIS

Step 2: USICS then receives your application
Step 3: USCIS will contact you
Step 4: Go to your appointment at the Application Support Center to have your biometrics captured
Step 5: If you are seeking an EAD, USICS will determine your work eligibility

  • If you are applying for TPS for the first time and also seeking an EAD: USCIS will review you case and determine whether you are eligible to work before they make a final decision on your TPS application. If you are found to be eligible to work upon this initial review of your application (also called a prima facie review), then you will receive an EAD.
  • If you already have TPS and are re-registering for TPS and also seeking an EAD: you will get your new EAD when your TPS application is adjudicated.

Step 6: USCIS adjudicates your TPS application
Step 7: USCIS approves or denies your TPS application

  • If your initial application for TPS is approved and you requested an EAD, USCIS will send you an approval notice as well as your EAD (if you already haven’t received one).
  • If your initial application for TPS is approved and you did not request an EAD, USCIS will send you only an approval notice. You will not receive an EAD.
  • If your re-registration application for TPS is approved and you requested a new EAD, USCIS will send you an approval notice as well as your new EAD. If your re-registration application for TPS is approved and you did not request a new EAD, USCIS will send you only an approval notice. You will not receive an EAD.
  • If your application for TPS is denied, USCIS will send you a letter indicating the reason for your denial and, if applicable, provide you with the opportunity to appeal the denial. If you had received an EAD after the prima facie review of your work eligibility in Step 5 and then your application is denied and you choose to appeal to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or request review of your application by an immigration judge, your EAD will be extended while you are waiting for a decision. If your EAD expires, to request an extension of your EAD, you must file a Form I-765 along with evidence of your appeal to the AAO or that you have requested an immigration judge to review your TPS application.

The application process for receiving TPS and an EAD can be complicated—the documentation must be submitted in a highly organized fashion and must be completed correctly. In fact, if your application and documentation for obtaining TPS and EAD contains inexact information, this can lead to the immediate rejection of your application.
Working with an experienced immigration lawyer to prepare and submit your TPS and EAD applications will help give you piece of mind during this tumultuous time and increase your chances of having your application accepted.
Here at the immigration law firm of Kuck | Baxter immigration partners, our experienced immigration attorneys can provide expert legal counsel for a wide variety of immigration law practice areas such as family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, and applying for asylum, refugee, or TPS status.
To learn more about Kuck | Baxter immigration partners and the immigration law services we offer our clients or to schedule your consultation with one of our immigration lawyers, contact us using our website’s online contact form or call us at (404) 816-8611.
[1] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status
[2] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status
[3] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status
[4]  https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status

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