The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced an 18-month extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan, effective from November 21, 2023, through May 20, 2025. This decision is due to the ongoing armed conflict and exceptional temporary conditions in Afghanistan that prevent individuals from safely returning. The Federal Register notice provides details on how individuals can register for TPS under Afghanistan’s extension and redesignation.
1. Reason for Extension: Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas cited ongoing armed conflict, lack of access to essential resources like food and healthcare, destroyed infrastructure, internal displacement, and economic instability as the basis for extending TPS for Afghanistan.
2. Current Beneficiaries: Approximately 3,100 current TPS beneficiaries can maintain their status through May 20, 2025, as long as they continue to meet TPS eligibility criteria.
3. Redesignation: The redesignation of Afghanistan for TPS allows an estimated 14,600 additional Afghan nationals, including those with no nationality who last resided in Afghanistan, to apply for TPS if they entered the United States after March 15, 2022, and have been residing continuously in the U.S. since September 20, 2023, with continuous physical presence in the U.S. since November 21, 2023.
4. Re-registration: Current TPS beneficiaries must re-register within the 60-day re-registration period from September 25, 2023, to November 24, 2023, to maintain their TPS status and employment authorization.
5. Employment Authorization: DHS is automatically extending the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) previously issued under Afghanistan’s TPS designation through November 20, 2024.
6. Pending Applications: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue processing pending applications filed under the previous TPS designation for Afghanistan. Individuals with pending Form I-821 or Form I-765 as of September 25, 2023, do not need to refile.
7. New Applicants: Eligible individuals who do not currently have TPS can submit an initial Form I-821 during the initial registration period, which runs from September 25, 2023, through May 20, 2025. Applicants can also apply for TPS-related EADs and travel authorization.
8. Operation Allies Welcome: Afghan nationals granted parole under Operation Allies Welcome may apply for TPS if eligible. TPS application and parole applications are separate processes.
The Federal Register notice provides comprehensive information about eligibility criteria, timelines, and application procedures for re-registering current beneficiaries and applying for TPS under the redesignation, including EAD applications. Afghan parolees are encouraged to explore other immigration pathways they may be eligible for, such as asylum and adjustment of status, for more permanent immigration solutions.