Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to eligible foreign-born individuals who are unable to return home safely due to conditions or circumstances preventing their country from adequately handling the return.
*Updated August 23, 2023*
When can the Secretary designate a country for TPS?
The Secretary can designate 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.
Who is eligible for TPS?
TPS can be granted to an individual who is a national of a designated country, has filed for status during a specified registration period, and who has been continuously physically present in the U.S. since a designated date.
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.
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:
Where do TPS holders live?
TPS holders reside all over the United States. The largest populations of TPS holders live in Florida (197,485), Texas (69,840), California (60,420), New York (54,010), and Virginia (24,090). Most TPS holders from El Salvador live in the Washington, DC (32,359), Los Angeles (30,415) and New York (23,168) metropolitan areas. Honduran TPS holders live mostly in the New York (8,818), Miami (7,467) and Houston (6,060) metropolitan areas. Haitian TPS holders live mainly in the Miami (16,287), New York (9,402) and Boston (4,302) metropolitan areas.
On March 30, 2021, detailed information regarding where in the U.S. TPS holders from various countries live was revealed as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Catholic Legal Information Network Inc. (CLINIC), Alianza Americas, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the National TPS Alliance. The resulting CLINIC report provides previously undisclosed information about where TPS holders lived as of November 29, 2018, as well as additional facts concerning their demographics and work authorization status.
TPS Holders in the U.S. (November 2018)
When do TPS designations expire?
|Required Arrival Date||Secretary’s Decision Due||Expiration Date|
The Secretary can extend TPS after a review of country conditions. A decision concerning a 6, 12 or 18 month extension must be made at least 60-days before the TPS designation is set to expire. TPS extensions only apply to those who already have TPS status. Foreign nationals who arrive after the designated start date are only made eligible for status if TPS is re-designated for their country.
What will happen to TPS holders whose countries’ designations were terminated?
On June 13, the Biden administration said it was rescinding Trump-era terminations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, and Nicaragua and extending those nationalities’ protections for another 18 months. Following that announcement, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Biden administration’s request to voluntarily dismiss the U.S.’s appeal in Ramos v. Nielsen over the termination of temporary legal status for recipients from those countries.
On September 14, 2020 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the lower court’s preliminary injunction and allowed the termination of TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan to proceed. However, that decision has been appealed, and deportations will not proceed until the appeal is resolved and TPS recipients can maintain TPS status and work authorization through October 4, 2021. Ramos v Nielsen was filed in March 2018 on behalf of over 250,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan, alleging the government’s termination of TPS was unlawful.
On February 10, 2019, a group of Nepali and Honduran TPS holders filed a separate lawsuit claiming that the termination of the two countries’ TPS designations violated the law. On March 12, 2019, a federal district court in California temporarily stayed the termination of TPS for Nepal and Honduras and consolidated the case with Ramos v. Nielsen. A third lawsuit, Saget v. Trump, challenges the termination of TPS for Haitians. In that case, a federal court judge in New York on April 11, 2019 issued a preliminary injunction blocking the termination of TPS for Haitians. That case is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
On December 9, 2020, DHS issued a notice extending TPS documentation for TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan through October 4, 2021 while litigation is on-going. DHS will continue to extend the validity of these immigration documents in nine-month intervals. Once the litigation is completed, and if the courts have issued a final ruling that the terminations were proper, DHS will allow for a 365-day “orderly transition” period for those from El Salvador and a 120-day period for those from all other countries before deportations would begin.
On November 16, 2022, DHS posted a notice announcing the continuation of TPS for individuals under designations that continue to subject to the litigation. This announcement occurred after settlement talks stalled between the Biden administration and the plaintiffs in the ongoing lawsuits.
How do TPS holders contribute to our economy?
TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti contribute a combined $4.5 billion in pre-tax wages or salary income annually to our nation’s gross domestic product. The total Social Security and Medicare contributions of those individuals is estimated at more than $6.9 billion over a ten year span.
Where do TPS holders work?
An estimated 130,000 TPS holders are working as “essential critical infrastructure workers” working shoulder to shoulder with Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and helping with our economic recovery in a number of industries including healthcare and food services.
According to a 2017 survey of TPS holders from El Salvador and Honduras, overall 88.5% are working — 94% of men and 82% of women. Male TPS holders work in the following sector or occupation: construction/painting (23%), driving/delivery (13.7%), cleaning buildings or houses (7.3%), gardener (5.4%), cook (3.9%), or store clerk (2.5%). Female TPS holders are concentrated in cleaning buildings or houses (27.9%), childcare (6.6%), cooking (5.2%), clothing factory work (4%), or store clerk (3.8%).