Afghan Evacuees and Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Afghans Departing Ramstein Air Base

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has updated its report entitled Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. This publication explains what Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure is. The report is updated periodically by the CRS.

The Secretary of Homeland Security has the discretion to designate a country for TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months. He can extend this period if the country continues to meet the conditions for designation. TPS is a blanket form of humanitarian relief. It provides a safe haven for designated foreign nationals who may not qualify for asylum but who come from potentially dangerous situations.

Some Afghans living in the United States may be eligible for TPS. To obtain TPS, nationals of foreign countries must pay specified fees and submit an application to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a certain deadline. Foreign nationals outside of the United States are not eligible to apply for TPS.

In the summer of 2021 and for several months afterward, tens of thousands of Afghans were evacuated and relocated to the United States as a result of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the defeat of the Afghan military forces, the collapse of the Afghan government, and the Kabul non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) in August 2021. Some of those people evacuated were Afghans who assisted the United States during its two-decade involvement in the Afghan conflict. This included combat interpreters, support staff, and others associated with U.S. agencies conducting business or operations in Afghanistan. In addition, many members of the Afghan military were included in the evacuation.

On March 15, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Afghanistan for TPS for a period of 18 months. This was based on the ongoing armed conflict between the Taliban and the Islamic State – Khorasan Province. It is also based on the many conditions in Afghanistan to include drought, economic crisis, human rights abuses and repression by the Taliban, revenge attacks on former members of the Afghan government and military, and many other factors.

Most Afghans who entered the U.S. during this time were granted immigration parole. This status allowed them to remain in the U.S. and allows them to obtain work authorization. The benefits are temporary and does not provide the Afghan with a designated pathway to lawful permanent resident status (LPR with a Green Card). Some Afghans received parole for one year and some received parole for two years.

Temporary Protected Status for Afghans require a number of eligibility requirements to be met. This includes registration with the USCIS, physical presence in the United States, continuous residence in the United States, no serious criminal record, and a few others. Applying for asylum or some other type of immigration may be a more preferable route than TPS, as TPS is temporary in nature. While in the United States with TPS an Afghan can use that time for application for asylum or some other type of immigration status.


Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, Congressional Research Service, CRS RS20844, PDF.



“Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghans”, Afghan Report, February 15, 2022.

“Temporary Protected Status”, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

“What Is Temporary Protected Status”, Council on Foreign Relations, Backgrounder

“Information for Afghans”, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Image: An evacuee from Afghanistan waves before boarding a flight at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2021. This is one of the final outbound flights to leave Ramstein after a three-week pause. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes).