Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

Let us help you start your application today!

What is Form I-821 used for?

Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), is a form used by individuals of certain countries who are seeking temporary protected status in the U.S. 

TPS is a humanitarian temporary benefit that allows individuals from certain countries facing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions to live and work in the U.S. for a designated period.

Form I-821 is typically accompanied by other forms, such as Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). 

The information provided in these forms helps USCIS to determine whether an individual qualifies for TPS and associated benefits such as employment authorization.

Who qualifies for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

To qualify for TPS, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria, and the U.S. government designates countries for TPS based on specific conditions in those countries.

The eligibility criteria for TPS typically include:

  • Nationality: You must be a national of a country designated for TPS. 
  • Continuous Residence: You must have been continuously residing in the U.S. since the effective date of the most recent designation of your home country for TPS.
  • Continuous Physical Presence: In addition to continuous residence, you must have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the date specified in the TPS designation notice for your country.
  • Filing Deadline: You must file the TPS application during the open registration or re-registration period specified by the U.S. government. Late filings may be accepted in certain circumstances, but it’s essential to apply for TPS timely
  • Admissibility: TPS applicants might be found ineligible for TPS if applicants are inadmissible due to health-related grounds, alien smuggling, failure to attend a removal proceeding, fraud and misrepresentation, etc. Some grounds of inadmissibility can be waived by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
  • Third Country Resettlement: The applicant is not firmly resettled in a third country.

List of countries eligible for applying for TPS (Form I-821)

The list of countries currently eligible for TPS include:

The list of countries eligible for TPS can change over time, and new designations may be made, while others may be terminated.

It’s crucial to check the official USCIS website for the most current list of countries eligible for TPS.

Who can file Form I-821?

Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), can be filed by individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Nationality: The applicant must be a national of one of the following countries designated for TPS: 
  • Continuous Residence: The applicant must have been continuously residing in the U.S. since the effective date of the most recent designation of their home country for TPS.
  • Continuous Physical Presence: In addition to continuous residence, the applicant must have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the date specified in the TPS designation notice for their home country.
  • Filing Deadline: TPS application must be filed during the open registration or re-registration period specified by the U.S. government online. Late filings may be accepted in certain circumstances, but it’s essential to apply for TPS timely. If you have a spouse or child who is eligible for TPS, USCIS may accept a late Form I-821 application.
  • Admissibility: TPS applicants might be found ineligible for TPS if the applicants are inadmissible due to health-related grounds, alien smuggling, failure to attend a removal proceeding, fraud and misrepresentation, etc. Some grounds of inadmissibility can be waived by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. Form I-601 must be submitted together with Form I-821.
  • Third Country Resettlement: The applicant is not firmly resettled in a third country.

Who cannot file Form I-821?

You cannot apply for TPS if any of the following applies to you:

  • Failure to Meet Nationality Requirements: If an individual is not a national of a country designated for TPS or is unable to establish nationality, they may be ineligible.
  • Lack of Continuous Residence or Physical Presence: Individuals who have not been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the specified dates in the TPS designation notice or do not meet the continuous residence requirements may be ineligible.
  • Criminal Convictions: Certain criminal convictions may render individuals ineligible for TPS. USCIS considers the criminal history of applicants, and certain offenses may disqualify individuals from obtaining TPS.
  • Security and Public Safety Concerns: Individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety may be ineligible for TPS.
  • Failure to Timely File: TPS applicants must file during the open registration or re-registration period specified by the U.S. government. Failure to file within the designated timeframe may result in denial of your application. If you have a spouse or child who is eligible for TPS, USCIS may accept a late Form I-821 application.

How much is the fee for Form I-821?

The filing fee for Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, depends on the applicant’s age:

Type of application Applicant’s age Form I-821 filing fee Biometrics fee Form I-765 filing fee

Total

Submitting initial TPS application AND requesting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Younger than 14 $50 $0 $0 $50
14-65 years old $50 $85 $410 $545
66 and older $50 $85 $0 $135
Submitting initial TPS application and NOT requesting an EAD Younger than 14 $50 $0 N/A $50
14 and older $50 $85 N/A $135
Re-registering for TPS and requesting an EAD Younger than 14 $0 $0 $410 $410
14 and older $0 $85 $410 $495
Re-registering for TPS and not requesting an EAD Younger than 14 $0 $0 N/A $0
14 and older $0 $85 N/A $85

How long will the TPS status be valid for?

The initial grant of TPS is typically for a set period ranging from 6 months to 18 months. 

However, the Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to extend or terminate the TPS designation for a particular country based on an assessment of the current conditions in that country.

Individuals granted TPS are required to re-register during each designated re-registration period if they wish to maintain their TPS status. 

Re-registration allows individuals to extend their TPS benefits and employment authorization. 

The extension periods can vary, and it’s important for TPS beneficiaries to stay informed about the specific re-registration deadlines and requirements.

It’s crucial to check the official USCIS TPS page for the latest information regarding the duration of TPS status for a particular country and any changes to the designation or re-registration process.

Do I need to file a separate Form I-821 application for my spouse, children, or parents?

If you are applying for TPS for yourself, your spouse, children, or parents, you need to file a separate Form I-821 application for each eligible family member. 

If you have a spouse or child who is eligible for TPS, USCIS may accept a late Form I-821 application.

How long is the processing time for Form I-821?

The processing time for Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), can vary based on a variety of factors, including the volume of applications received, USCIS workload, and individual case complexities:

Type of TPS application

Average processing times

Afghanistan initial application 8.5 months
Burma initial application 8.5 months
Cameroon initial application 11 months
El Salvador initial application
  • Texas Service Center: 11.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center: 16 months
El Salvador re-registration
  • Nebraska Service Center: 7 months
  • Texas Service Center: 10.5 months
  • Vermont Service Center: 3 months
Haiti initial application 8 months
Honduras initial application 13 months
Honduras re-registration 5 months
Nepal initial application 26 months
Nepal re-registration 18.5 months
Nicaragua initial application 10.5 months
Nicaragua re-registration 7 months
Somalia initial application 8 months
Somalia re-registration 6 months
South Sudan initial application 13.5 months
South Sudan re-registration 15.5 months
Sudan initial application 10 months
Sudan re-registration 2 months
Syria initial application 10 months
Syria re-registration 14.5 months
Ukraine initial application 12.5 months
Venezuela initial application 16 months
Yemen initial application 10.5 months
Yemen re-registration 5 months

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on Form I-821 processing times, you can visit the USCIS Processing Times page, choose “Form I-821”, choose your category and select your service center. 

The service center handling your application can be found in the lower left corner of Form I-821 receipt notice.

You cannot choose the USCIS service center that will process your application.

How to file Form I-821 online

The process of applying for TPS (Form I-821) online involves the following steps:

Step 1. Create an online USCIS account if you do not have one.

Step 2. From the “My account” dropdown menu, select “File a form online”. Choose “Form I-821”.

Step 3. Carefully answer all of the questions and upload scanned copies of the documents requested. See the checklist of required documents below.

Step 4. Review your answers, verify that all the requested documents are uploaded and submit the application. You will pay the filing fee online using a credit or debit card. 

Step 5. Download the Form I-821 receipt notice from “Your cases” – “Documents” – “USCIS Notices”. Hard copy notice will arrive by mail within a couple of weeks.

Step 6. Wait for USCIS processing: you can track the status of your case in your online account. If USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE), you can upload your request to RFE directly to your online account.

Step 7. If approved, you will have access to approval notice in your online account. The original Form I-821 approval notice will arrive by mail in 2 weeks.

Step 8. Check for TPS updates: make sure to follow the latest changes on your home country’s TPS designation and learn if you need to re-register your TPS application on USCIS website

How to file Form I-821 by mail

The process of applying for TPS (Form I-821) by mail involves the following steps:

Step 1. Download the Form I-821:

  • Obtain the latest edition of Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, from the USCIS website.
  • USCIS will reject any outdated editions of Form I-821

Step 2. Gather Supporting Documents:

  • Collect all the necessary supporting documents (see the checklist below). Unless directed otherwise, submit only photocopies of the documents.

Step 3. Complete the Form:

  • Fill out the form accurately and completely. Sign and date the form in ink
  • USCIS does not accept computer-generated or stamped signatures
  • Fill out and submit Form G-1145 to receive an electronic notification (text message or email) containing USCIS receipt number 

Step 4. Filing fee payment:

  • Check the USCIS website for the most current filing fee
  • Acceptable forms of payment include: money order, personal check, cashier’s check or credit card payment (fill out Form G-1450)
  • If paying by check, the check must be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Step 5. Mail the Application:

Step 6. Check Application Status:

  • If you submitted Form G-1145 with your application, 1 week after the submission you will receive a text message or email from USCIS with your Form I-821 receipt notice. Check your spam folder.
  • USCIS will mail the receipt notice 2-3 weeks after the submission date
  • You can track the status of your application online by entering the Form I-821 receipt number 

Step 7. Wait for Processing:

  • USCIS will process your application, and if additional information or document is needed, an RFE notice will be mailed to you. Once processed, you will receive a decision on your application by mail.

Step 8. Check for TPS updates:

  • Make sure to follow the latest changes on your home country’s TPS designation and learn if you need to re-register your TPS application on USCIS website

Form I-821 checklist of required documents

The following documents must be submitted with your TPS (Form I-821) application (submit photocopies only):

Evidence required

Examples of acceptable documents

Signed and completed Form I-821
  • Download the most recent edition of Form I-821 on USCIS website
  • Answer all questions
  • Sign and date the form
  • Unsigned, undated or outdated editions of Form I-821 will be rejected by USCIS
Signed and completed Form I-765 (optional, if you want to apply for EAD)
  • Download the most recent edition of Form I-765 on USCIS website
  • Answer all questions
  • Sign and date the form
  • Unsigned, undated or outdated editions of Form I-765 will be rejected by USCIS
G-1145 form (optional)
  • Fill out Form G-1145 if you want to receive a text or email from USCIS containing Form I-821 and Form I-765 receipt notices
  • Put a completed Form G-1145 on top of your application
Filing fee
  • Submit the correct filing fee (see the fees above)
Proof of identity and nationality Document that shows the country of your nationality:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Foreign ID card (front and back)
  • Foreign driver’s license (front and back)
  • Foreign military ID (front and back)
  • Foreign public educational documents
  • School identity documents (for children ages 5 to 10 years old)
Date of entry and residence Proof of continuous residence in the U.S. from the date of country’s designation:

  • Passport 
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
  • Employment records (pay stubs, W-2 forms, federal tax returns, employment verification letter)
  • Financial records (U.S. bank statements, money transfer receipts, rental agreements, monthly utility bills, car insurance, auto registration, etc.)
  • Medical records (appointment notices, medical bills, medical prescriptions, birth certificates of children born in the U.S., medical visit summaries)
  • School records (report cards, letters issued by the departments of education, school enrollment records, etc.)
  • Affidavits from organizations (community organizations, churches, unions, etc.)
Physical presence in the U.S. Proof that the applicant has been continuously physically present on the US since the TPS started or redesigned:

  • Employment records (pay stubs, W-2 forms, federal tax returns, employment verification letter)
  • Financial records (U.S. bank statements, money transfer receipts, rental agreements, monthly utility bills, car insurance, auto registration, etc.)
  • Medical records (appointment notices, medical bills, medical prescriptions, birth certificates of children born in the U.S., medical visit summaries)
  • School records (report cards, letters issued by the departments of education, school enrollment records, etc.)
  • Affidavits from organizations (community organizations, churches, etc.)

Can I apply for employment authorization after I filed Form I-821?

Yes, you can apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, either at the same time as you file Form I-821 or after submitting Form I-821.

Here are the general steps to apply for employment authorization as a TPS applicant:

  • File Form I-821 and Form I-765 together (recommended): you can file Forms I-821 and I-765 at the same time. Filing Form I-765 earlier can speed up the processing of your employment authorization.
  • File Form I-765 after Form I-821 is registered: if you did not apply for employment authorization when you filed your I-821 application you can do so anytime after I-821 is registered.
  • Include Supporting Documents: Provide any required supporting documents, such as:
    • Copy of your Form I-821 receipt notice
    • Proof of your identity and nationality (passport, birth certificate, foreign photo ID, foreign driver’s license – front and back)
    • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
    • Copy of your last Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (if applicable) – front and back
    • Two identical passport-style photographs
  • Pay the Filing Fee (if applicable): Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee associated with Form I-765. 
  • Submit the Application: Mail the completed Form I-765 and supporting documents to correct Form I-765 filing address.
  • Wait for Approval: USCIS will process your Form I-765, and upon approval, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), commonly known as a work permit. This document allows you to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) and legally work in the U.S.

How to renew my TPS status?

To renew your Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status, you need to follow the re-registration process as outlined by USCIS on their website.

Here are the general TPS renewal step-by-step instructions:

Step 1. Check Eligibility:

  • Ensure that you still meet the eligibility criteria for TPS renewal. This includes being a national of a designated TPS country and meeting continuous residence and physical presence requirements.

Step 2. Check the Re-registration Period:

  • USCIS will announce specific re-registration periods for each TPS designation. It’s important to be aware of these periods and submit your renewal application during the specified timeframe.

Step 3. Complete Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status:

  • Obtain the latest version of Form I-821 from the USCIS website or file it online (you will need an online USCIS account)
  • Complete the form accurately, providing all necessary information. Be sure to answer all questions and provide any additional information required.
  • You do not need to submit any documents with your re-registration application. However, USCIS may request additional documents in certain cases.
  • Submit the Filing Fee:
    • Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee associated with Form I-821. Some individuals may be eligible for a fee waiver. Include the appropriate payment with your application.
  • Submit Form I-765 (if seeking employment authorization):
    • If you wish to renew your employment authorization, file Form I-765 along with Form I-821. Include any required supporting documents and the filing fee.

Step 4. Submit the Application:

The list of current TPS countries is available here

Step 5. Wait for USCIS Processing:

  • USCIS will process your renewal application. You can track the status of your case in your online USCIS account (if you filed application online) or on the USCIS case status page by entering your I-821 receipt number

Step 6. Receive the EAD and TPS approval notice:

  • If you requested employment authorization and your renewal is approved, you will receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD), and TPS approval notice by mail.

Can a TPS holder go to a U.S. college?

Yes, individuals holding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are generally allowed to enroll in U.S. colleges and universities. 

TPS holders are considered to be in a lawful status during the designated TPS period, and they may be eligible to pursue educational opportunities, including enrollment in U.S. educational institutions. 

When applying to colleges or universities, TPS holders should follow the same admissions procedures as other students. 

Additionally, they may need to provide documentation of their TPS status, such as TPS approval notice and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS.

Related Links:

How to apply for TPS (Temporary Protected Status)

Form I-765 Instructions, How to Fill Out

Asylum (Requirements, How to Apply)