Temporary Protective Status has been granted to Nepalese Citizens! Thanks to the efforts of Senators Charles E. Schumer and Mazie K. Hirono, citizens of Nepal who are already in the United States can now legally remain in the country even after their visas expire. Although it has not been formally announced by the USCIS, reports that Nepal has been granted the protective status have been substantiated by a press release from the office of Senator Chuck E. Schumer.

What is TPS

Temporary Protective Status (TPS) is a humanitarian effort that establishes a temporary safe haven in the U.S. for foreign nationals of certain countries. Countries are granted TPS if the Attorney General has determined, with respect to that foreign state, that: there is an ongoing armed conflict within the foreign state that poses a serious risk to the personal safety of the country’s nationals if returned there; there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state preventing its citizens from returning safely; or, as in the case with Nepal, there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster resulting in a substantial but temporary disruption of living conditions in the area affected, the foreign state is unable temporarily to handle the return of its nationals, and the foreign state has affirmatively requested the designation.

To be eligible for TPS, one must establish identity and nationality of the designated TPS country – established by passports, a birth certificate with photo ID, or other national identity documentation – and proof of residence within the U.S. – established by employment records, rent receipts, school records, and other documents. Additionally, the applicant must be physically present and residing in the U.S. continuously since the date of designation; the applicant must be otherwise admissible to the U.S.; they must not be firmly resettled in a third country; must not be ineligible because of one felony or two or more misdemeanor convictions; and, they must register for TPS within the period provided by the Attorney General.

There are many benefits to TPS. Generally, the foreign national will be granted the protective status for 6 to 18 months, which may be extended, and will not be deported during the TPS period. The person will be granted employment authorization during the initial TPS period or one year, whichever is shorter, and throughout any TPS extensions. Further, the person shall not be detained because of their status, may travel abroad (if granted permission to do so), may change or adjust their status in some cases, may apply for asylum, and may apply for cancellation of removal once TPS expires. It is important to note, however, that TPS does not provide a pathway to a green card or citizenship.

TPS and Nepal

Due to the recent and devastating earthquake, Nepal has been granted TPS. According to UN estimates, 8 million people, or nearly a third of Nepal’s population, have been affected by the earthquake. It’s estimated that the earthquake destroyed more than 500,000 homes and approximately 2.8 million people countrywide were displaced. Because of this tragedy, Nepalese nationals who fulfill the criteria above are eligible for TPS within the U.S.

We Can Help

If you are a Nepalese national currently residing in the U.S. and are interested in obtaining TPS, we can help you. Although there are fees associated with the application process, it is possible to obtain a fee waiver for the TPS application, and we can help. Additionally, a TPS applicant may be required to appear in person, however, they have the right to counsel and may be able to represent you. Feel free to call us at (415) 643 4342.