After a two-month wait since it was first announced, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan in the Federal Register on May 19, 2022.
This means that the registration period for TPS is now open for Afghans who meet certain criteria.
To be eligible for TPS, a person holding Afghan citizenship must have ‘continuously resided' in the U.S. since March 15, 2022, and had ‘continuous physical presence in the U.S. since May 20, 2022.
What is the difference between ‘Continuous Residence' and ‘Continuous Physical Presence'?
- ‘Continuous residence' means you have maintained a permanent dwelling/domicile/residence in the U.S. since that date. To qualify for TPS you must have resided in the U.S. since March 15, 2022.
- ‘Continuous physical presence' means you have not left the country since that date. To qualify for TPS you must not have left the U.S. U.S. since May 20, 2022.
I Have Parole Status - Should I Still Apply for Temporary Protected Status?
- The most common question about TPS for new immigrants in the Afghan community is whether they should apply for it. Most Afghans who entered the United States last year were brought in under a temporary status called parole.
- Afghans on parole are eligible to receive employment authorization, a social security card, and in most cases benefits like health insurance and food assistance. Parole is a temporary status and most Afghan evacuees have two years from their date of U.S. entry until their parole expires, which means they have two years to adjust their status either by applying for asylum or a green card adjustment of status.
- TPS is very similar to the protection granted to parolees, in that you can stay in the U.S. but your status does not guarantee you a path to citizenship. For those on parolee status we expect that the U.S. government will make an announcement about the future of that status sometime this year.
- As far as is known at this point in time, TPS will likely not extend for a longer period of time than parole.
- Those in most need of TPS are Afghans who were either visiting the U.S. or on student visas when the Taliban took over in August of 2021 (or undocumented), and who don't have qualify for another type of visa to apply to or maintain.
Important Things to Know for Applying:
- This TPS designation will last until November 20, 2023.
- You can apply for employment authorization at the same time as TPS.
- When applying through USCIS you will need:
- Evidence to prove your identity and nationality;
- Evidence to prove your date of entry into the United States;
- Evidence to prove your residence in the United States; and
- Court disposition records (if you were ever arrested, charged, or convicted for a criminal offense).
- TPS is not an automatic status. If you feel you are eligible for TPS you will need to apply for it.
If you have questions about how you or a loved one can apply for TPS please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.
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