We kick off the start of a brand new week, with exciting news for nationals of Cameroon. As you may recall, on April 15, 2022, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas first announced the designation of Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months. Today June 6, 2022, DHS published the Federal Register notice providing further information on how individuals can register for TPS under Cameroon’s designation beginning Tuesday June 7, 2022 until December 7, 2023.
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.
Cameroon’s recent designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Cameroon that prevent its nationals, from returning safely.
Who can apply?
Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since April 14, 2022 and demonstrate continuous physical presence in the United States since June 7, 2022.
Eligible applicants must be nationals of Cameroon or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Cameroon.
Any nationals of Cameroon who attempt to travel to the United States after April 14, 2022, will not be eligible for Temporary Protected Status.
Cameroon’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice provides 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 Cameroon, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Cameroon;
- 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 April 14, 2022; and
- Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since June 7, 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.
USCIS estimates that about 11,700 individuals may be eligible for TPS under the designation of Cameroon.
Individuals applying for TPS under the Cameroon designation must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the 18-month initial registration period that runs from June 7, 2022, through Dec. 7, 2023. Cameroon TPS applicants are eligible to file Form I-821 online. When filing a TPS application, applicants can also request an Employment Authorization Document by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821. Applicants may also submit Form I-765 online.
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 Cameroon have rapidly deteriorated due to extreme violence between government forces and armed separatists and a significant rise in attacks from Boko Haram, the combination of which has triggered a humanitarian crisis. Extreme violence and the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure have led to economic instability, food insecurity, and several hundred thousand displaced Cameroonians without access to schools, hospitals, and other critical services.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the decision to add Cameroon 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, “The United States recognizes the ongoing armed conflict in Cameroon, and we will provide temporary protection to those in need. Cameroonian nationals currently residing in the U.S. who cannot safely return due to the extreme violence perpetrated by government forces and armed separatists, and a rise in attacks led by Boko Haram, will be able to remain and work in the United States until conditions in their home country improve.”
This marks the first time the Secretary of DHS has allowed qualifying nationals of Cameroon to remain temporarily in the United States pursuant to a TPS designation of that country.
Where can I find more information?
DHS has published Cameroon’s designation in the Federal Register here. If you would like to apply for this designation, we invite you to contact our office for a consultation.
- Federal Register: Designation of Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status
- DHS Announces Registration Process for Temporary Protected Status for Cameroon
- Secretary Mayorkas Designates Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months
- Temporary Protected Status Webpage
- 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
JOIN OUR NEW FACEBOOK GROUP
Need more immigration updates? We have created a new facebook group to address the impact of the new executive order and other changing developments related to COVID-19. Follow us there.
For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.