In this blog post, we share with you some recent updates for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. On March 16, 2022, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the designation of Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a statutorily authorized program established by the United States Congress in 1990. The program allows migrants whose home countries are considered unsafe, the right to live and work in the United States for a temporary, but extendable, period of time. Though they are not considered lawful permanent residents (green card holders) or U.S. citizens, they are authorized to live in the United States without fear of deportation under temporary protected status. Applicants may also apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS along with their application for TPS.
A country may be designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.
Afghanistan’s recent designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Afghanistan that prevent Afghan nationals, from returning safely.
Who can apply?
Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Eligible applicants must be a national of Afghanistan or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Afghanistan.
Any Afghan nationals who attempt to travel to the United States after Tuesday, March 15, 2022, will not be eligible for Temporary Protected Status.
Afghanistan’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for Temporary Protected Status, and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
TPS applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks to gain approval.
The general requirements are listed below:
- Be a national of Afghanistan, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Afghanistan;
- File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation;
- Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since March 15, 2022; and
- Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States March 15, 2022. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.
Who is not eligible for TPS?
You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:
- Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
- Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
- Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;
- Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
- Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
- If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause
How did the TPS designation come about?
Security conditions in Afghanistan have caused rapid deterioration and instability with the fall of the country to the Taliban. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the decision to add Afghanistan to the list of countries eligible for TPS, because of the ongoing armed conflict in the region that poses a serious threat to the safety of returning nationals as the Taliban imposes control in all areas of the country. The Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) has also conducted attacks against civilians. Mayorkas stated, that “Extraordinary and temporary conditions that further prevent nationals from returning in safety include a collapsing public sector, a worsening economic crisis, drought, food and water insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, internal displacement, human rights abuses and repression by the Taliban, destruction of infrastructure, and increasing criminality.”
Where can I find more information?
Once DHS publishes the designation in the Federal Register, we will update our helpful links below. If you would like to apply for this designation, we invite you to contact our office for a consultation.
- Secretary Mayorkas Designates Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months
- Secretary Mayorkas Designates Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months
- USCIS TPS Webpage
- Processing Posts for Visa Applicants in Ukraine
- Youtube channel
- ImmigrationU Membership
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