What Is Form I-821?
Form I-821 is a form filed by nationals of countries unable to receive its incoming nationals, usually due to a natural disaster, pandemic, or civil war.
Such people use this form to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS grants temporary immigration (and work authorization) status to foreign nationals. The form, however, is only available to certain countries. The US government has to specifically designate a country as eligible for TPS. Open this link to see the list of eligible countries.
You need an EAD if you plan to work during your stay in the U.S.. You can request an EAD by submitting Form I-765 when you file for a TPS. You can also request a work permit (EAD) by filing Form I-765 separately at a future date, though we recommend filing both simultaneously in most cases.
Who Can File Form I-821?
- A foreign national whose country is among the eligible countries designated by the Department of Homeland Security. Such a person is eligible for a TPS and file Form I-821.
- If you are not a citizen of the stipulated eligible countries, you can still file Form I-821. However, this only applies if your last habitual residence was in an eligible country.
- You must also meet the US residence requirements and be able to show you were physically inside the US as of the eligibility date. Keep close attention to USCIS as these dates frequently change as disasters or civil wars drag on.
Tips For Filing Form I-821
Like all other forms, the I-821 has its eligibility requirements, and instructions. So, if you want to file Form I-821 you must keep the following things in mind:
- You must provide documents that show that you are a citizen of an eligible country.
- Furthermore, you must tender evidence that shows your U.S. immigration status. It should include the location of your home in the U.S. and the date of entry and residence, and any departures and re-entries, if applicable.
- Sometimes, USCIS may request that you tender original documents. They will return them to you after the completion of the process upon request.
- You may need to submit copies of your birth certificate and passport. In addition, you must submit your photo I.D., and home country’s national I.D.. USCIS may also request for your photo and or your fingerprint.
- You may need to submit your passport and Form I-94(Arrival/departure record). This is to verify your date of entry into the United States.
- You can submit other supporting documents to prove your U.S. residence. You may tender employment records, utility receipts, hospital records, and money order receipts. Also, you may submit your school records and church attestations.
- You can use affidavits to prove your U.S. residence, and your date of entry into the U.S., but these should be relied on as secondary or corroborative evidence, not as primary evidence!
- If you’re applying for registration, re-registration, and renewal of TPS, you must submit your biometrics data. The biometrics will comprise your signature, fingerprints, and photographs.
What Happens After Filing Form I-821?
USCIS will contact the TPS applicants. They will send the details of the biometrics appointment that will take place at the Application Support Center.
The applicant must appear physically for the biometrics collection. You may lose your TPS if you do not appear at the Application Support Center in person.
Note that filing Form I-821 and biometrics collection require separate fees. You must pay the fees according to the guidelines that USCIS provides. If you are unable to pay the filing fee and the biometrics fee, you may request a fee waiver. Naturally, USCIS will decide whether or not to grant you the waiver.
Furthermore, you must file Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. Every applicant must file Form I-765, regardless of if they want to work or not.
Also, if USCIS denies your application for TPS, you will be notified of the denial via a denial notice. In some cases, you may appeal the denial within 30 days. USCIS will also send you a notification regarding this.
Form and Fees
You can use the fee calculator on USCIS’s official website to determine your fees. Click here.
Let Us Help With Your TPS Application
When the situation in your home country becomes too bad to return, and is so designated by the US Department of Homeland Security, what you need is a Temporary Protected Status. If you apply for a TPS, you stand on the path to enjoy the following benefits:
- You will not be removable from the U.S.
- Getting a work permit will become a matter of choice, and not eligibility.
- You will be able to get a travel authorization.
Remember: TPS is a thin status. You can lose it very easily by failing to renew it on time, or getting convicted of two or more misdemeanors or a single felony. And this is the immigration law definition of conviction – which sometimes means a court can dismiss a case but it still is considered a conviction for immigration purposes! (Yes, it’s confusing – we have special experience in these types of cases) Misdemeanors can be as small as serious traffic offenses like driving on a suspended license. So you should always be looking for a way to get a green card and not rely on TPS.
Although all these benefits are temporary, they are still great advantages nonetheless. At our firm, we have been able to successfully guide our clients from TPS to permanent residence if they meet certain qualifications. Know this about us: we are in the permanent game. We want to find a way to make you a citizen. It’s not always possible, but if there is a way, we will find it.
So, reach out to the HMA Law Firm today for guidance on Form I-821. We will help you enjoy the benefits of TPS – and beyond, if we can!