Temporary Protected Status or TPS is a kind of humanitarian relief issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to citizens of countries affected by political, social, or environmental instability. While in Temporary Protected Status, you may be granted U.S. work authorization. This article explains how to get a TPS work permit and how long you may hold a valid work permit as part of your TPS.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Updated October 10, 2022
During the registration period for TPS, you can request a work permit, otherwise known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You can also request a work permit during each re-registration period for your status. You can’t predict how long you will live in the United States, but as a TPS beneficiary, you’ll likely reside in the United States for some time until it’s safe for you to return home. While you’re in the United States, you’ll probably need to work to support yourself financially.
U.S. citizens and green card holders are automatically authorized to work within the United States. However, many people live in the United States under temporary immigration statuses like TPS or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). If you are a TPS holder or DACA recipient, you’ll need to obtain an EAD before working in the United States. Work permits allow those without citizenship or a green card to work freely in the United States.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows those eligible for TPS status to obtain EADs. To request an EAD, you’ll file Form I-765, the Request for Employment Authorization.
When Can You Apply for a TPS Work Permit?
You can file Form I-765 at the same time you file Form I-821, the Application for Temporary Protected Status. Form I-821 is the initial application for TPS that you’ll complete when you first seek temporary status. Alternatively, you can file Form I-765 after submitting your initial TPS application. Typically, filing both forms at once can help you get your EAD faster.
If you file Form I-821 online, you’ll also have the option to file Form I-765 online.
Are There Fees for a TPS Work Permit?
Your filing fees for a TPS-based EAD vary depending on your age and other circumstances. Use the USCIS Fee Calculator to estimate your fee. First, select “I-765” and enter your age. Then, select “Permission to accept employment” under “Reason for filing.” For your “Filing Category,” enter “Nationality.” Finally, under “Nationality,” select “(a)(12),” the code USCIS uses for TPS.
You can also find more specific information about your estimated fees in USCIS’s table below. For the TPS application process, you may need to pay certain filing and biometrics fees.
You can pay any fees with a check or money order. If you pay by check, be sure to make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If you file at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you can pay with a credit card. To pay by card, you’ll need to complete Form G-1450, the Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
Filing and biometric fees are nonrefundable. Even if USCIS denies your TPS or EAD applications, you won't get your money back. Sometimes, it’s possible to obtain a fee waiver for these forms. If paying these fees would be a significant financial burden, you might be eligible for a waiver. Check out our guide to USCIS fee waivers and reductions to see if you qualify.
Can You Renew or Extend Your TPS Work Permit?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regularly reviews TPS country designations. Remember that TPS is a temporary condition. If DHS believes your home country is safe to return to, they may remove your country from their list of TPS-eligible origins. Countries often receive TPS designation after a natural or environmental disaster or during ongoing armed conflict or civil war. If your home country’s conflict or situation becomes resolved, DHS might remove it from the list.
You can check DHS’s current eligible country list on the USCIS website. Current eligible countries are
Your work permit is tied to your TPS. Typically, DHS announces extensions of TPS country designation periods on the Federal Register. If DHS extends the TPS designation of your country, they will also provide information about renewing your TPS. Renewing your TPS will ensure that your work permit remains valid.
How Do Automatic Extentions Work?
Sometimes, DHS offers automatic extensions on your Tempoary Protected Status. DHS knows that many TPS holders cannot renew their status before their current Employment Authorization Document expiration date. To prevent your work eligibility from expiring before you receive your new EAD, DHS can automatically extend your current EAD if your home country is redesignated for TPS eligibility. Typically, these extensions last six months. You’ll only need to show your expired EAD and a copy of the Federal Register extension announcement to prove your work eligibility during this period.
If your home country is no longer on DHS’s designated country list, you won’t be able to renew your work permit. You can continue working in the United States until your EAD expires. However, you’ll need to leave your U.S. job and residence before your status expires. You may risk violating U.S. immigration laws and deportation if you don't.
TPS is not permanent. The U.S. government regularly reviews TPS designations for countries. They might decide your home country is safe to return to at some point. If this happens, you won’t be able to live and work in the United States when your EAD expires. But there are a few pathways to U.S. permanent resident status as a TPS holder. Eligible individuals can apply for green cards through marriage, employment, or asylum. A green card might be right for you if you’re eligible and want to reside permanently in the United States.
Applying for a green card can be complicated, but help is available. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the green card process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. If our app isn’t a good fit, we may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney to help. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!