West African Countries Win TPS Extension

As conditions in the West African countries of GuTPS extended for West Africainea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continue to present challenges in the wake of the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status to beneficiaries for an additional six months. The extension, which also applies to beneficiaries’ Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), is effective from May 22, 2016 through Nov. 21, 2016.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) originally granted TPS to the West African nationals in November 2014, according to a release from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS.) In October 2014, USCIS took steps to offer on-request relief to those who faced Ebola risk if they returned home.

“Although there have been significant improvements in the conditions in all three countries since their designations for TPS,” the March 22 USCIS release reads, “the lingering effects of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak and continued recovery challenges support this six-month extension.”

The window for beneficiaries to extend their TPS designation runs from March 22 through May 23. TPS re-registrants can also apply for a new EAD, which will carry an expiration date of Nov. 21, 2016. “USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current work permits expire,” explains the USCIS release. “Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone EADs bearing a May 21, 2016 expiration date for six months.” These already-existing EADs are now valid through Nov. 21, 2016.

Re-registration for TPS requires current beneficiaries to submit these forms and fees:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status– no application fee is charged
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization– even if an EAD isn’t wanted
  • The Form I-765 application fee (or a fee-waiver request) for those who want an EAD; no fee is charged if the re-registrant doesn’t want an EAD
  • The biometric services fee (or a fee-waiver request) if they are age 14 or older.

Those individuals with still-pending initial TPS Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone applications don’t need to submit a new Form I-821. But if these individuals currently have a TPS-related EAD and want a new work authorization document, these items are required submissions:

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-765 application fee– regardless of age
  • Form I-821 receipt notice copy of pending status

Applicants can check My Case Status Online for case status updates, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-767-1833).