Just two and a half hours from our office is one of the largest populations of Cameroonians in the United States. Along with California, the Washington D.C. area is home to the majority of the thousands of Cameroonians who live in this country.
Many U.S. based Cameroonian nationals have been feeling increased levels of frustration and unease as the conflict in their home nation intensifies. Since 2016 a civil war called the Anglophone Crisis has been ravaging the country, but recent escalations of it have propelled the attention of the U.S. government to take action. In addition to the civil war, the U.S. has recognized that the actions of the terrorist organization Boko Horam have contributed to create an environment that is not safe for Cameroonian nationals living in the United States to return to.
On April 15, 2022, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas designated Cameroon as the latest country to receive Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States. The Status is good for 18 months, the countdown of which will begin once the TPS is published in the Federal Register.
Am I Eligible for Temporary Protected Status?
- If you are a Cameroonian national who has continuously resided in the United States since April 14, 2022 you are likely eligible for TPS. Cameroonians who arrive to the U.S. after April 14 will not be eligible to apply for TPS.
Can I Legally Work in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status?
- Yes. If you obtain TPS you are eligible to also receive an employment authorization (EAD) card to work in the U.S. for the duration of your TPS.
What Other Benefits Would Temporary Protected Status Give Me?
- As a TPS recipient (or if you are found preliminarily eligible for TPS), you are not removable from the U.S., and may be granted travel authorization upon request.
- Once granted TPS, you also cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of your immigration status in the U. S.
Is There Anything that Would Prevent Me from Obtaining Temporary Protected Status?
Criminal history and other grounds could disqualify someone from TPS including:
- Two misdemeanor convictions or one felony conviction.
- Inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act, such as criminal activity, controlled substance violations, immigration fraud or terrorist and national security related grounds.
- Any mandatory bars that apply to asylum, such as firm resettlement in a third country.
If you have criminal convictions or believe that one of the other grounds might apply to your case, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
How Should I Prepare to Apply for Temporary Protected Status?
- Remember that this TPS designation will only apply to Cameroonians living in the U.S. as of April 14, 2022.
- 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.