TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has led Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, to announce that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone’s eligible nationals who are at present living in the U.S. may file applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
These TPS designations took effect on November 21st 2014 and nationals of these three countries who are deemed eligible and people who are not nationals but have resided for a long period in any of these countries are not going to be asked to leave the United States and will be given authorization to undertake employment and get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The period for TPS registration starts on November 21st 2014 and ends on May 20th 2015.
Applicants who are eligible for TPS are required to prove that they meet all criteria for eligibility which includes continuously residing in the U. S. since Nov. 20th 2014 and being “continuously physically present in” the U.S. since November 21st 2014. Applicants will also undergo rigorous security checks and any applicant with a criminal record or who is likely to be a national security threat will not meet eligibility requirements for TPS.
Benefits: But for those that qualify, this is a way to get a work permit and actual status. It's better than qualifying even under Deferred Action (for childhood arrivals or for parents) because it gives actual status. It provides another layer of protection. And it's easier to obtain travel authorization (advance parole) under TPS than under deferred action, which can lead, for certain people, to permanent residence under Matter of Arrabally.
Pointer: We remind you to take a picture of yourself holding an American newspaper, or have a photograph taken of you next to a recognizable monument, on or before 11/20/2014. Get the evidence you'll need now. Right now it's easy to prove your physical presence.
Special Info for Liberians: Liberians who are currently covered by the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) 2 year extension related to President Obama’s memorandum on Sept. 26th 2014 can file an application for TPS but it must be within the registration period of 180 days otherwise they will lose their eligibility. Liberians who are covered by a DED and who have a DED or have filed an application for one are not required to apply additionally for one which is related to this specific TPS designation. Certain people however who are given TPS can request an EAD which is TPS-related at a date that is later provided that the TPS designation for the country of Liberia is still in effect.
Fee Waiver: Applicants can ask the USCIS to waive fees based on proven inability to have the money to pay through the filing of Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or through sending in a written request. All requests for a fee waiver have to include all necessary supporting documentation. USCIS will turn down any TPS applicant if the necessary fee has not been included or if a properly documented fee waiver request has not been included.
If you are in doubt as to how to approach TPS you should contact an experienced immigration attorney for legal advice before next year’s deadline has been reached. Failing to adhere to deadlines is a lost opportunity for you.