DHS Designates Ethiopia for TPS, Expands Employment Options for Ethiopian Students
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has designated Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from December 12, 2022 through June 12, 2024. The registration period for eligible individuals to submit TPS applications will run for that same period, from December 12, 2022 through June 12, 2024. Eligible individuals will also be able to apply for TPS-related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission during this time. DHS has also announced that it will suspend certain employment authorization rules for Ethiopian students in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the crisis in Ethiopia.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has designated Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from December 12, 2022 through June 12, 2024. According to a Federal Register notice that will be published on December 12, the designation will permit eligible Ethiopian nationals and those with no nationality who last habitually resided in Ethiopia to file for TPS and for a related employment authorization document (EAD) and travel permission (known as advance parole). DHS and the Department of State have deemed the designation warranted due to the ongoing armed conflict and the extraordinary and temporary conditions related to severe climactic shocks in Ethiopia.
Relatedly, DHS is also suspending certain employment authorization rules for Ethiopians in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the ongoing crisis in the country. An advance copy of the Federal Register notice implementing that change is also available.
TPS eligibility and application process for Ethiopian applicants
Ethiopian nationals can apply for TPS if they can demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States since October 20, 2022, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since December 12, 2022. Individuals arriving in the United States after Oct. 20, 2022, are not eligible for TPS under this designation.
Applicants must file a Form I-821 application with appropriate fee(s) (or request for fee waiver) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the registration period from December 12, 2022 through June 12, 2024. Applicants may also apply for EADs and for travel authorization during this time, by submitting the corresponding forms and fee(s) or fee waiver request.
All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility. Biometrics collection (fingerprinting) is generally required for applicants ages 14 and older.
Relaxed employment authorization rules for certain Ethiopian students in F-1 status
Separately, Ethiopian citizens in lawful F-1 student status will benefit from relaxed employment authorization rules if they are experiencing severe economic hardship due to the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia. Eligible students can request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain a “full course of study” designation. The relief will remain in effect from December 12, 2022 through June 12, 2024. To qualify, F-1 students must establish that they:
- Are Ethiopian citizens (or have no nationality and last habitually resided in Ethiopia);
- Are lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on December 12, 2022;
- Are enrolled in an academic institution that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified;
- Are currently maintaining F-1 status; and
- Are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the crisis in Ethiopia.
F-1 students who receive authorization from their Designated School Officer (DSO) to work off-campus must apply for an EAD by submitting the required application form and corresponding fee (or fee waiver request). F-1 students who will be working on-campus do not need to file for an EAD, but do require DSO authorization.
What this means for foreign nationals
Ethiopian nationals who believe they qualify for TPS should file their applications without delay to take advantage of this benefit and obtain employment authorization as quickly as possible. Those in F-1 status should contact their school’s Designated School Official (DSO) to determine whether they can avail themselves of the relaxed employment authorization standards.