National Immigration Law Center
Sign up for email updates.

Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

TPS & Proving Work Authorization

Compose

FEBRUARY 2010


What Workers Should Know About Temporary Protected Status & Proving Work Authorization

What is temporary protected status?

Temporary protected status (TPS) is an immigration status that allows people from certain foreign countries to remain in the United States for a limited period of time. TPS is granted to people from countries where conditions are so unsafe or difficult that it might be dangerous for them to return.

What are the benefits of having TPS?

If you have been granted TPS, during the period of TPS validity:

  • You may not be deported or removed from the U.S., unless you do something that invalidates your TPS.

  • You are authorized to work and can obtain an employment authorization document (work permit).

  • You are permitted to travel outside of the U.S. if you get advance permission from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

Can my TPS status and work permit be extended?

  • The government may extend TPS for additional periods of time.

  • TPS extensions sometimes also include automatic extensions of work authorization for people who have been granted TPS.

  • Notices about TPS extensions and automatic extensions of work authorization are published by CIS in a government publication called the Federal Register.

  • If CIS announces that your home country has been “redesignated” for TPS and that people from your country with TPS have had their work authorization automatically extended, you are still authorized to work even if your work permit has expired.

  • You should reregister for TPS and renew your work authorization within the time allowed in the Federal Register notice.  You need to reregister for TPS even if your work authorization is automatically extended. If you do not reregister, you will lose TPS.

If my work permit has expired, but my TPS work authorization has been extended, what documents may I show my employer to prove that I am still authorized to work?

To prove that you are authorized to work,

  • You should provide your employer with (1) a copy of the Federal Register notice (which you can get from the OSC website — see below) that extends TPS and work authorization, and (2) your expired work permit.

  • You can also give the employer a letter that explains the TPS extension and the Federal Register notice.

  • A sample letter is available (PDF).

  • If you are represented by a union, you should contact your union representative immediately. Your union could send your employer a letter like the sample letter discussed above.

What if my employer won’t accept my expired work permit with the copy of the Federal Register notice as evidence of my authorization to work?

  • If you have reregistered for TPS but your employer refuses to accept your expired work permit and a copy of the Federal Register notice as evidence that you are authorized to work, contact a local immigrant rights advocate, or contact the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) at 1-800-255-7688 or 1-800-237-2515 (TDD). For more information, visit the OSC’s website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc/index.html.