On November 20, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will designate Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This designation will allow nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those countries) who are currently residing in the U.S. to apply for temporary protection.
DHS may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely due to conditions such as:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
- An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries, or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases:
- Are not removable from the United States
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May be granted travel authorization
The TPS designation for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone will take effect on November 21, 2014, and will be in effect for 18 months.
Applicants from one of these countries applying for TPS must register within the 180-day registration period running November 21, 2014 through May 20, 2015.
Applicants must demonstrate that they meet all eligibility criteria, including that they have been "continuously residing" in the U.S. since November 20, 2014, and that they have been "continuously physically present" in the U.S. since November 21, 2014. Applicants will be required to undergo security checks, and individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security will not be eligible for TPS.
For further information, or assistance in applying for TPS, please contact our office.