In late June of 2015, Secretary Johnson of the Department of Homeland Security granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals of Nepal after a serious earthquake in their homeland. This means that all Nepali nationals who qualify may apply for TPS, therefore allowing them to remain in the United States for a period of time even after the expiration of their visas.
Temporary Protected Status is granted to nationals of specific countries at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, and can help those from countries experiencing strife to stay in a safe place while the problems in their country are addressed.
A Response to ‘Extraordinary and Temporary’ Events
Temporary Protected Status was established in 1990 by the Immigration Act. Originally, the Attorney General had the power to institute TPS, but it was transferred to Homeland Security in 2003. While TPS is active, nationals of the country in question may remain in the United States and apply for work authorization, but it is not a pathway to Lawful Permanent Resident status, as it cannot be renewed except by authorization of the Homeland Security secretary.
TPS is granted to nationals of countries that are experiencing ‘extraordinary and temporary’ events. The most common examples are natural disasters (such as earthquakes) and armed conflicts like civil war. Sole discretion to grant this status lies with the secretary, but it is generally given in direct response to an unusual situation—or example, nationals of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea were all granted TPS in late 2014 due to the Ebola outbreak in that area of the world. Currently, the countries under TPS are the previously mentioned four, plus El Salvador, Haití, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.
Criteria to Apply
When a country is granted TPS, its nationals may not simply assume they now qualify and go on with life. They must ensure they qualify for this augmented status and then apply to receive it. United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has a list of requirements that one must meet in order to get TPS and be able to apply for work authorization. In addition to being a national of a country on the TPS list, they are:
Once approved, someone with temporary protected status is not removable from the U.S. for its duration, and they may apply for work authorization for the length of time they are present.
An Immigration Attorney Can Help
If you still have questions, or if you feel as though you need help to get through what can be a confusing process, an immigration attorney can make a big difference. The skilled Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have experience dealing with Temporary Protected Status countries and understand how to help the nationals of these countries through the application process. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
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