In order to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as an individual by filing Form I-821 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must meet strict requirements. First, you must be from a country that the Department of Homeland Security recognizes as a TPS country. Second, you must be able to prove that you have physically been in and lived in the United States for a specified period.
USCIS Requirements for TPS
USCIS mandates that all TPS applicants meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen of a TPS designated country or someone who most recently lived in a TPS-designated country
- Qualify to file Form I-821 during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation
- Be able to provide proof that you have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country
- Be able to demonstrate that you have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country
Of course, there are exceptions to some of these rules, which you can learn about here. However, you mustn’t forget to tell USCIS about all travel outside of the United States after the applicable dates for continuous physical presence and continuous residence when you apply or re-register for TPS. The agency will then determine whether the exception applies in your case.
Circumstances That May Render You Ineligible for TPS
USCIS may deny your application for TPS if you meet any of the following criteria:
- If you have a criminal record that includes convictions for any felony or two or more misdemeanor offenses committed in the United States
- If you re found inadmissible as an immigrant for reasons set forth in INA section 212(a), including certain “non-waivable” grounds
- If you are barred from asylum on mandatory grounds including but not limited to subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to engaging in or inciting terrorist activity
- If you don’t meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
- If you don’t meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements or you don’t re-register for TPS without acceptable reasons.