17 Mar 2022

United States

U.S. Offers Temporary Protected Status to Afghans

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week that foreign nationals from Afghanistan who have been living in the U.S. since March 15, 2022, are eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. The designation of Afghanistan for TPS is based on the ongoing armed conflict by the Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan, as well as the extraordinary, unsafe conditions—including drought, food and water insecurity, a collapsing public sector, humans rights abuses and repression, increasing criminality, and a worsening economic crisis—that prevent Afghanis from returning safely.

The TPS program provides temporary protections in the U.S. to eligible nationals of countries experiencing armed conflict or humanitarian crises. Earlier his week DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas stated that this designation “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.”

Through Operation Allies Welcome, most Afghan nationals who were evacuated from Afghanistan were paroled into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons. These individuals—who comprise the majority of the estimated 74,500 Afghans in the U.S.—may now be eligible under this designation and may apply for TPS (as well as for an Employment Authorization Document) as soon as DHS publishes a Federal Register notice outlining the application process.

To apply for TPS, individuals submit a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, to USCIS and pay the associated filing fees. Employment and travel authorization require separate applications—Forms I-765 and I-131—along with respective filing fees. Individuals who believe they qualify for TPS are encouraged to consult with a T&S legal professional to evaluate their eligibility.

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