U.S. Department of State Grants Temporary Protected Status to
Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) to people currently residing in the U.S. from countries stricken with Ebola. Eligible nationals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of these countries) who are currently residing in the United States are now able to apply for TPS with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). TPS grants approved applicants protection from deportation and work permits valid for up to 18 months.
The 180 day TPS registration period for new applicants will run from November 21, 2014 to May 20, 2015. To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate they have been continuously residing in the U.S. since November 20, 2014, and they have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since November 21, 2014. Applicants must also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records, those who pose a threat to national security, and persons who are inadmissible under INA section 212(a) are not eligible for TPS. Applicants may request that USCIS waive fees by submitting Form I-912, which documents inability to pay, or by submitting a written request with supporting documentation. TPS applications without the required filing fee or a properly documented fee waiver request will be rejected. Liberians currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum may apply for TPS.
No individuals arriving from these three countries after the date of the announcement on Thursday, November 20, 2014 will be eligible for protected status, and successful applicants will not be permitted to travel back and forth from West Africa to combat the spread of Ebola. USCIS estimates 8,000 people from these countries will now be eligible to apply for TPS. Extensions of the TPS grant will be reassessed after 18 months based on how severe the Ebola outbreak remains in West Africa.