Nepal Earthquake Leads to TPS Designation

Temporary Protected StatusWhen a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the Nepal in April this year, the resulting devastation served to rally countries around the world to come to the aid of the developing South Central Asian nation. In the same spirit of aid, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson has designated Nepal with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months—through December 24, 2016.

Eligible Nepal nationals—as well as those people without a nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal– can apply for TPS status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The status means officials won’t remove these people from the United States and also that these people can receive Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD).

TPS eligibility requires applicants to demonstrate meeting all eligibility criteria. Among the primary of these is continuous physical presence and continuous residency in the United States since June 24, 2015. The full list of requirements is available on the USCIS site.

TPS applicants also undergo security checks. Those applicants with criminal records or found to pose a threat to national security won’t receive protected status.

USCIS lets applicants request a fee waiver for costs related to TPS-related filings with Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver or through a written request. Waiver requests must also include supporting documentation. USCIS won’t process TPS applications that don’t include the required fee or fee waiver request.

The earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks killed 8,000 people in Nepal and injured thousands more when it occurred on April 25. Since then, billions of dollars in aid that has been pledged to help in recovery is just now beginning to trickle in, according to The Daily Mail.

The British newspaper reports a group is putting out a documentary about the devastation as Nepal Rising records the harrowing accounts of those who lived through the disaster. One woman tells the story of watching her home collapse during an aftershock when her husband was inside. Another woman describes being buried under rubble and debris until rescuers heard her calls for help.

For those in the United States interested in filing for TPS status, full details on the application process is available on the Federal Register notice.