Designation of Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

March 16, 2022

On March 15, 2022, Secretary of Homeland Security Alexander Mayorkas announced the designation of Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. In the news release announcing the designation, Secretary Mayorkas stated that the designation was designed to “help to protect Afghan nationals who have already been living in the United States from returning to unsafe conditions,” and that TPS “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.”

Calls for the Biden administration to make this designation have gotten louder since the United States pulled out of Afghanistan last year, as lawmakers and activists sought to ensure that any Afghans already in the United States would not be forced to return to a country now under Taliban rule.  Unfortunately, TPS does nothing for the many Afghan allies that were left behind in the country following the U.S. withdrawal, many of whom are still stuck waiting for resettlement in the U.S.

To be eligible for TPS under the Afghanistan designation, individuals must have continuously resided in the United States since March 15, 2022, and must meet other requirements, including security and background checks.

A country may be designated for TPS when the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that conditions in the country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely. The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to temporary conditions such as: ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, an epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Once a country has been designated for TPS, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or eligible for TPS are not removable from the United States and can obtain employment authorization and/or travel authorization. Individuals granted TPS also may not be detained on the basis of their immigration status.


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