Legal Information on Ebola-Related TPS

On Dec. 17, 2014 African Services Committee's legal team held a Legal Information Session for anyone interested in learning more about TPS, immigration and Ebola. ASC attorneys answered questions and explained what TPS grants and what it does not grant. For example, TPS is not a path to a green card. TPS is not a path to citizenship. The status is temporary in nature. ASC attorneys explained the fees involved in applying, which are roughly the cost of a work permit, plus a biometrics services fee. The session also explained the fee waiver process. The session took place at 6 pm at African Services Committee's fourth floor conference room at 429 West 127th Street in Harlem and was followed by a "community conversation on Ebola," facilitated by Dr. Yinka M. Akinsulure-Smith.

Click here to view and download the TPS Checklist in English and here for the French version.


TPS Issued to Nationals of Countries Hardest Hit by Ebola

November 20th was an important day for nationals from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea living in the United States on that historic day, as they woke up to news regarding much-anticipated immigration relief in the form of Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

TPS is a temporary benefit status for nationals of designated countries, usually those that have experienced a conflict, natural disaster, or some other extraordinary event. TPS gives these nationals a safe haven from feeling legally compelled to return to their country while their country experiences one of these extreme events. Haiti was designated as eligible for TPS following the earthquake in 2010.

"The general rationale behind TPS is that in circumstances of conflict or natural disaster, it is not safe for a national of the designated country to be returned to their country during the crisis, so they should be granted status in the United States," said ASC Supervising Attorney Kate Webster.

"Also, given those extraordinary circumstances, nationals of the country in crisis should be allowed to work in the United States, not only to support themselves, but also to be able to send money home to friends and relatives who could be suffering from the conflict or natural disaster."

Temporary in nature, the grant of TPS for the three countries affected most by Ebola is for a period of 18 months. The initial registration period is from Nov. 21, 2014 to May 20, 2015. It requires that an individual is a national from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, that they can document they were present in the US on the day of the designation, which is Nov. 20, 2014, and also that they have been in the US since that time.

Ebola-related TPS seekers must show that they are admissible otherwise, which means that individuals with previous interaction with immigration or who have a criminal history may not be eligible and should consult with a lawyer.

If someone is granted TPS they are eligible to apply for employment authorization to get a work permit, and eligible to apply for a travel document. Once employment authorization is granted, one can apply for a social security number. 

For more information or questions about the session or TPS, call 212.222.3882 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .