The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had announced that Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone will be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months starting tomorrow, November 21, 2014. After that time, the government can decide to extend the TPS period, or end the benefits.
The TPS designation means that undocumented immigrants from those countries who are already in the US will not be removed (deported) and can apply for work authorization
To qualify for TPS, applicants must show that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014 and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014. Applicants also undergo thorough security checks. People with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS.
The TPS registration period runs from Nov. 21, 2014 to May 20, 2015 (180 days). Applicants should apply during this time, following the instructions here.
DHS defines TPS as
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.
For more information, see the DHS Press Release
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.