Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, has announced that the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia has been extended for a further 18 months from March 18 2023 through September 17 2024. The predesignation also means that Somali citizens residing in the U.S. as of January 11 2023 can apply for TPS (subject to eligibility criteria being met). The decision was made due to the ongoing armed conflict in the country, causing ‘extraordinary and temporary’ conditions that make it unsafe for Somalis to return.
Temporary Protected Status is designated for countries where conditions temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Those conditions may arise from war/conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary conditions. Ongoing conflict, along with natural disasters and widespread disease, has worsened an already severe humanitarian crisis. The country continues to be affected by terrorism, violent crime, civil unrest, and fighting among clan militias.
Mayorkas said, “Through the extension and redesignation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, the United States will be able to offer safety and protection to Somalis who may not be able to return to their country, due to ongoing conflict and the continuing humanitarian crisis. We will continue to offer our support to Somali nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.
Further information will be released by USCIS in relation to eligibility criteria, timelines and guidance surrounding registration and renewals of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for existing beneficiaries of TPS.
Which countries are currently designated for TPS?
- Burma (Myanmar)
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
What are the eligibility requirements for TPS?
To be eligible for TPS, you must:
- Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country;
- File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or you meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation;
- Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country; and
- Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.
You may not be eligible for TPS if any of the following apply:
- Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
- Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
- Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity;
- Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
- Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
- If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.