Afghanistan Designated for Temporary Protected Status
Nationals of Afghanistan (or individuals who last resided in Afghanistan) who are currently inside the United States may be able to lawfully remain in the country on what is called “ Temporary Protected Status” or “TPS.” On May 20, 2022, Secretary Mayorkas designated Afghanistan for TPS for 18 months (until November 20, 2023) due to ongoing armed conflict and the humanitarian disaster that resulted from the Taliban’s takeover. The designation quotes the United Nations which has said that half of the country’s population is “facing acute hunger, including 9 million people in emergency food insecurity—the highest number globally [with] [m]alnutrition on the rise, and livelihoods [that] have been destroyed.” It also notes the negative security situation of Afghanistan as well as “economic collapse, a crumbling healthcare system… and [a lack of] respect for human rights”
The Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to designate countries eligible for TPS if the conditions of the country, like in Afghanistan, are such that its nationals cannot safely return. Eligible country conditions include ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary temporary conditions. Individuals found to be preliminarily eligible for, or that have already been granted, TPS cannot be deported from the U.S. during the designated TPS period. They can also request an employment authorization document that would allow them to legally work in the United States. To be eligible for TPS, the national (or qualifying resident) must have had continuous residence in the U.S. since March 15, 2022 and have been continuously present in the United States since May 20, 2022. They must apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before November 20, 2023.
As its name implies, TPS is only a temporary benefit, though the initial designation period can be extended. TPS does not provide a long-term path to residency in the U.S. For example, TPS beneficiaries cannot apply for green cards (lawful permanent resident status) as a result of receiving TPS. However, receiving TPS will not prohibit them from applying for any other immigration status for which they are independently eligible.
The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices can assist you or your loved ones in the process of seeking Temporary Protected Status. We are experienced in representing clients before the USCIS. Please Contact our office or contact our office at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.