WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the re-designation of Temporary Protected Status for nationals of Liberia until October 1, 2005. Under this re-designation, nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) may be eligible to live and work in the United States for an additional year. Some individuals may be eligible for TPS for the first time; however, applicants must continue to demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since October 1, 2002. There are approximately 3,792 nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who are eligible for registration.
The re-designation of Liberia for TPS is effective October 1, 2004, and will remain in effect until October 1, 2005. Nationals of Liberia who have been granted TPS under the designation ending October 1, 2004, and first time applicants must register for the 12-month designation during the 180-day registration period, which begins on August 25, 2004 and will remain in effect until February 21, 2005. Section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant TPS to aliens in the United States who are nationals of countries that are subject to ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. On October 1, 2002, the Attorney General (who retained authority over TPS designations prior to the creation of the DHS on March 1, 2003) designated TPS for Liberia based on an ongoing-armed conflict.
Since that time, the U.S. Government has continuously examined conditions in Liberia and recently determined that, because the armed conflict has concluded, the conditions that prompted TPS designation no longer exist. Accordingly, the Secretary of DHS is terminating the designation of Liberia for TPS under 8 U.S. C. 1254a(b)(3)(B). However, the Secretary of DHS finds that there are extraordinary and temporary conditions in Liberia resulting from the damage caused by the civil war that prevent the safe return of certain nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who are otherwise eligible for TPS. The protracted civil war in Liberia has damaged Liberia’s infrastructure. Eighty percent of the pre-war housing stock has been damaged. Less than ten percent of the arable land is under cultivation. Food security, shelter, water, sanitation, and healthcare remain practically non-existent. Therefore, the redesignation of Liberia for TPS is warranted under 8 U.S. C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).
To register for TPS, an applicant must submit Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status) with the $50 filing fee, Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and two identification photographs (full face frontal, 2”x2) to the local USCIS district office. Both forms must be submitted for registration. All applicants between the ages of 14 and 65 (inclusive) seeking employment authorization until October 1, 2005 must submit a $175 filing fee with Form I-765. Additionally, all applicants who are over the age of 14 must submit a $70 fee for fingerprints. Applicants may request a fee waiver in accordance with the regulations. Failure to submit the required photographs and filing fees will result in the rejection of the registration application. Applicants are reminded to send the exact amount.
Interim Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will not be issued to an applicant unless the Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) has been pending with USCIS more than 90 days after all requested initial evidence has been received by USCIS, including collection of the applicant’s fingerprints at an Application Support Center (ASC). Therefore, applicants are encouraged to appear at an ASC for fingerprints as soon as possible after submission of the TPS registration package to a USCIS district office.
More information can be obtained from the USCIS National Customer Service Center toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283. TPS forms are available from the toll-free USCIS Forms line, 1-800-870-3676, or from the USCIS Web site: www.uscis.gov.