On March 12, 2021, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas designated the country of Burma (also known as Myanmar) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. The TPS program provides temporary protections in the U.S. to eligible nationals of countries whose conditions prevent a safe return. In Burma, a military coup has led to brutal violence against civilians and a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in many parts of the country.
Because of the TPS designation, Burmese nationals (and those without a nationality but who last resided in Burma) who have been present in the U.S. since March 11, 2021 may apply for TPS during a set registration period, which will be designated in a forthcoming Federal Register publication. TPS applicants must demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria of 8 USC §1254a(c)(1)-(2).
During the TPS designation period, TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the U.S., may not be removed, and are authorized to obtain work and travel authorization so long as they continue to meet the requirements of TPS. To apply for TPS, individuals submit a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, to USCIS and pay the associated filing fees. Employment and travel authorization require separate applications—Forms I-765 and I-131—along with respective filing fees.
Burma’s initial TPS designation is for a period of 18 months. At least 60 days before the expiration of this period, the Secretary of Homeland Security must review the conditions in Burma and determine whether to extend or terminate the TPS designation. When country conditions improve and the designation is terminated, individuals are returned to the same immigration status or condition held prior to the grant of TPS, unless that status has since expired. Individuals who believe they qualify for TPS are encouraged to consult with a T&S legal professional to evaluate their eligibility.