A six-month Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extension has been granted to TPS beneficiaries under the designations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ends the benefit completely on May 21, 2017. TPS for the three West African countries, originally granted in November 2014 due to threat of the spread of the Ebola virus, is no longer necessary.
“After reviewing country conditions and consulting with the appropriate U.S. government agencies,” according to a September 22 release from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has determined that conditions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone no longer support their designations for Temporary Protected Status. The widespread transmission of Ebola virus in the three countries that led to the designations has ended.”
Current beneficiaries receive an automatic extension of the TPS status as well as an extension of their current Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) through May 20 of next year. These beneficiaries aren’t required to file any additional TPS applications or pay any fees in order to receive the extension in order to retain current benefits.
While the TPS extension ends next spring, beneficiaries of the status will still continue to hold any other immigration status they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. For those who don’t currently have an immigration status besides TPS, DHS “urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the terminations become effective in May to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.”
The six-month extension is intended to ensure an “orderly transition” as TPS designation ends.
TPS, categorized as a statutory provision within the Immigration and Nationality Act, is a designation placed on foreign countries by the DHS secretary. TPS is granted when conditions in these foreign countries temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from safely returning home or when these countries aren’t able to handle the return of nationals adequately.
Foreign nationals who are granted TPS can’t be deported from the United States and can also obtain work permits. TPS beneficiaries are also eligible to receive Advance Parole travel authorization.
Additional TPS information is available at uscis.gov/tps. Federal Register notices contain further details about the six-month extension for orderly transition before the termination of the TPS designations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.