Friday, March 18, 2022

Temporary Protected Status for Afghan Nationals

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan Nationals

By Immigration Attorney Liliana Gallelli, Esq 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the designation of Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Only individuals who are already residing in the United States as of March 15, 2022, will be eligible for TPS.

A country may be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. This designation is based on extraordinary circumstances that include a lack of infrastructure, an economic crisis, lack of basic needs such as food, water and access to healthcare, human rights abuses and repression by the Taliban, among other issues.

“This TPS designation will help to protect Afghan nationals who have already been living in the United States from returning to unsafe conditions,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Under this designation, TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.”

Most Afghan nationals who arrived as part of the US evacuation effort were paroled for a period of two years and received work authorization. These individuals may also register for TPS. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after March 15, 2022, will not be eligible for TPS.

The 18-month designation of TPS for Afghanistan will go into effect on the publication date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document.

Although the instructions have not yet been formally published, in our experience with TPS applications, the following will be some of the documents required to apply: 

The requirements:

1) Be a national of Afghanistan (or a noncitizen without a nationality who last habitually resided in Afghanistan);

2) Have continuously resided in the United States since March 15, 2022;

3) Undergo and pass security checks; and

4) Have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 15, 2022.

Documents that will likely be required:

1) Proof of Afghan nationality (passport, birth certificate and form of photo ID, or other government issued identification such as driver’s license, voter registration card, etc

2) Proof of date of entry into the United States (passport, visa, and I-94 card or proof of presence in the United States after unlawful entry, see below);

3) Proof of continuous residence in the United States since March 15, 2022 and physical presence since March 15, 2022. Documents with the name of the applicant and date that indicate presence in the United States are acceptable, including pay stubs, medical records, educational records, bills, banks statements, etc.;

4) 2 passport-style photos;

5) If applicable, certified court dispositions from any criminal case. (Some crimes may disqualify an applicant based on discretion)

6) Filing fee (must wait for publication in the federal register for the amount, if any)

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