The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has naturally caused great concern for citizens and nationals of the affected countries who are visiting the U.S. and whose visas or permitted stays are running out. In response, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for what’s known as Temporary Protected Status or TPS.
If you are from one of these countries and have been continously living in the United States since of the date of the DHS announcement (November 20, 2014), you may receive TPS benefits. (Note that this announcement will not help anyone who arrives in the U.S. after that date.)
The procedures for receiving TPS is to submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will receive the right to remain in the U.S. for 18 months, along with a work permit (also called an Employment Authorization Document or EAD). The TPS registration period begins November 21, 2014 and lasts through May 20, 2015.
For details on how to apply, see www.uscis.gov/tps.
You will also need to pass a security check showing that you do not have a criminal records that would make you ineligible for TPS, and that you don’t present a national security threat.
If you are from Liberia and already covered by DED (Deferred Enforced Departure), you may also apply for TPS. Be sure to do so within the initial 180-day registration period, or you will miss your chance.