U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants who are eligible nationals of Burma, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela or Yemen, or individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those countries, can now file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, online, if they are applying for TPS for the first time.
“USCIS is using innovation and technology to meet the needs of applicants, petitioners and employees,” said USCIS Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud. “Regardless of the paper or electronic format of an application or petition, USCIS is committed to ensuring a secure and efficient process for all.”
At this time, the option to file Form I-821 online is only available to initial TPS applicants from these five countries. USCIS is starting with these countries because they are either new designations or recently announced re-designations. When filing an initial TPS application, applicants can also request an Employment Authorization Document by submitting a completed Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821. These applications will be the first forms available for concurrent filing online.
All other TPS applicants and current beneficiaries who are re-registering under the extension of a TPS designation must continue to file a paper Form I-821. If an initial TPS applicant from a country other than Burma, Syria, Venezuela, or Yemen or a re-registrant files Form I-821 online, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee. USCIS is working to make online filing available for re-registrants and initial applicants for all TPS designations in the future.
During fiscal year (FY) 2020, USCIS received more than 7.4 million requests for immigration benefits, including 13,611 Forms I-821.Improvements to USCIS technology have enabled applicants to submit forms online. Since launching online filing in 2017, the overall number of forms filed online has increased significantly. In FY 2018, 553,728 forms were filed online, compared to FY 2020 when we saw over one million filings, and we are now on track to surpass the one million filings for FY 2021.
Individuals can currently file 12 USCIS forms online, which can all be found on the Forms Available to File Online page. To file these forms online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account. This free account allows them to:
- Submit their forms;
- Pay their fees;
- Track the status of their case;
- Communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox; and
- Respond to Requests for Evidence.
USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of these forms by mail.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.