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The DHS may designate a country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) when it has determined that conditions in that country would result in a threat to the personal safety of individuals if they returned home (i.e.  armed conflict, epidemic, or earthquake). Citizens of that country in the U.S. can apply for TPS status.

Currently, several countries have been designated for TPS including:

  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Syria

Once a person has been granted TPS, he/she is not removable from the U.S., can apply for an employment authorization document (EAD), and may be granted travel authorization.

The I-9 verification of employees on TPS status can be complex and create a challenge for employers. This is because for TPS beneficiaries, the employment authorization card (EAD) might expire, yet, under certain situations, a worker’s TPS and employment authorization status may be extended without him or her receiving a new EAD.  Additionally, each TPS country has a corresponding expiration date for all TPS EAD cards.

This article provides an overview of TPS and its related employment authorization.

How is the TPS extension decision made?

If conditions in the relevant country are still considered unsafe, then the TPS for the citizen of that country can be extended and the beneficiary may receive an extension of the TPS status for six, 12 or 18 months.  Citizens of some countries have been under TPS status for many years.

Where can I learn about the TPS Status Designation and Work Permit Automatic Extension?

The notice of a TPS designation and work authorization extension are published in the Federal Register. The Register explains what is required to renew TPS and how it will impact an employee’s work authorization.

You can access the register at www.federalregister.gov. You may also obtain TPS related information at the USCIS website.

Does a TPS EAD continue to be valid despite its expiration if TPS was automatically extended for a certain country?

When TPS is extended for a country, a new renewal period opens which allows the TPS beneficiaries to apply to renew TPS and their work permit.  Because of the delays in renewing TPS status and EADs, the DHS will often automatically extend the current EAD for six months to allow TPS beneficiaries to continue being authorized to work while receiving a new EAD.

How can I know if the EAD is TPS related? 

Look at the EAD category. EADs issued for TPS beneficiaries are annotated as “A-12” or “C-19”.

What does the employee need to present to prove their work authorization has been extended? 

In order to prove their ongoing work authorization, the employee should present a copy of the expired EAD card and a copy of the Federal Register notice allowing for the extension to the employer. If a country loses its TPS-designation, then the employee’s EAD will expire on its noted expiration date.