South Sudan Designated for Temporary Protected Status
South Sudanese nationals (or individuals who last resided in South Sudan) 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 March 2, 2022, Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas redesignated and extended TPS for South Sudan for 18 months (until November 3, 2023) due to “the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions” including “an exceptional level of intercommunal violence, a humanitarian crisis involving severe food insecurity, record-setting flooding, and large-scale displacement of civilians.” The extension allows individuals who previously obtained TPS to maintain it by re-registering, while the redesignation also allows for nationals to submit applications for the first time. South Sudan was initially designated for TPS in 2011 and has been both extended and redesignated several times over the past nine and a half years.
The Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to designate countries eligible for TPS if the conditions of the country, like in South Sudan, 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. If applying for TPS for the first time, the South Sudanese national (or qualifying resident) must have been continuously present in the United States since March 1, 2022. They must apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before November 3, 2023. South Sudanese nationals who previously held TPS and who continue to meet eligibility requirements must re-register by May 3, 2022. Previously issued employment authorization documents were also automatically extended through November 1, 2022.
As its name implies, TPS is only a temporary benefit, though the designation period can continue to 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.