Nepal Designated for Temporary Protected Status09 Jul 2015
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated Nepal for temporary protected status (TPS) in the wake of devastating earthquakes that occurred in April and May 2015. Nationals of Nepal who “…have been both ‘continuously physically present’ and ‘continuously residing’ in the United States since June 24, 2015” may apply for TPS. The registration period runs through December 21, 2015.
Background on TPS
TPS allows nationals of designated countries to remain in the U.S. for a specified period of time and is granted when home country conditions prevent a safe return. The types of conditions that can give rise to a TPS designation include: armed conflicts, environmental disasters, epidemics, earthquakes, and other extraordinary, temporary conditions. Individuals who are granted TPS are protected against removal (i.e. deportation) from the United States and are eligible to apply for work and travel authorization. The TPS period is temporary and does not lead to a permanent immigration status in the U.S.
TPS Eligibility Requirements
In order to qualify for TPS under this designation, an individual must be a national of Nepal, or, if the person has no nationality, s/he must have last habitually resided in Nepal. One also must have been residing in the United States and have been “continuously physically present” in the United States since June 24, 2015. The filing deadline is December 21, 2015. More information on the eligibility requirements and application procedure is available on the TPS page of the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
Initial TPS Grant Until December 24, 2016
The TPS designation for Nepal has been granted until December 24, 2016. If the country conditions do not sufficiently improve by that date, the DHS has the discretion to extend the duration of the TPS designation. If this occurs, stakeholders must be mindful of the need to reregister and, in most cases, apply to renew work authorization.
The United States has a proud tradition of offering humanitarian relief to foreign nationals during emergency situations. The recent earthquakes in Nepal have been particularly devastating, and this move by the DHS should offer at least a modicum of relief and protection to those who are unable to safely return to Nepal.
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